It’s that time of year again, when the leaves are replaced with snow and colds spread like wildfire. For some winter is a glorious time full of joyfulness, holiday cheer, and beautiful snow falls. For others winter is quite the opposite. But no matter which type of person you are, a cold can ruin winter for you, especially if it lasts longer than expected.

It is still unknown why we suffer from the sniffles more during fall and winter, but one WebMD article states that we are getting closer to understanding this mystery. They found that the drop in temperature doesn’t directly impact on the virus’s ability to replicate, but it does impact the immune system response to viruses. A stronger response was observed in warmer weather, which shows us why we get sick more during the winter.

A Global Healing Center article states that cold temperatures causes blood vessels to become more narrow, reducing the blood flow. This could be causing less white blood cells to be traveling through your body, weakening the immune system.

Staying healthy in the winter may be a bit of a challenge, but there are ways to keep yourself and your family from suffering from week long colds and endless sniffles. At Integrative Health, we offer primary care services to our members, helping them to stay healthy all winter long, or helping them feel better when they do catch the bug. Even though we are here to help our members, we want you to stay as healthy as possible.

In this blog, we will give you tips to staying healthy throughout the winter. Avoid getting the winter cold this year by sticking to these tips and tricks! And while many of these seem like things to do year round to stay healthy, making sure you stick to these things in the winter can help you stay healthier.

Healthy Diet

Eating a poor diet with no nutrients will always make you sick, but sticking to a healthy diet throughout the year will help keep you feeling better during the winter. Fruits and vegetables can help and boost your immune system and many can support gut health. The Global Healing Center article mentions that raw fruits and veggies contain a lactic acid bacteria, which improve gut health.

Another way to help your immune system stay strong against the winter flu bug is to keep up on your vitamin C. Eat foods that have high levels of this magical vitamin, from lemons to broccoli, get as much as possible. While it may be difficult, try and get at least two to three servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

One thing that can help that you may not have thought about is spices. According to a blog from Wendy Polisi, spices like oregano, turmeric, and cinnamon have antimicrobial properties, which can help keep you from getting sick.

Exercise

Yes, exercising is an important factor in staying healthy, even during winter. Get up and get going, work out daily, and you will be more likely to stay healthy. Exercise is not just important to keeping you in better shape during the winter, but it has also been proven to help keep you healthier. According to a mybody+soul article, study participants who went on a brisk walk several times a week reduced their number of sick days by about 40 percent.

The Wendy Polisi blog also mentioned a study that showed adults who regularly engaged in moderate physical activity were 23 percent less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection.

This makes it obvious that exercising, even during the winter, can help you stay healthy. Working out is important no matter the season, but adding daily exercise to your winter routine can help to fight off those pesky viruses.

Winter in Colorado offers many different opportunities to get active and have fun while doing it. While walking around the block or on the treadmill is easy enough, there are ways to get outside and working out that you may not have ever tried! Head up to Rocky Mountain National Park for a fun day of snowshoeing around some beautiful lakes. Or make your way to the local park for a full blown snowball fight, building snowmen, or even sledding. These activities, if you put enough effort into them, could be used as fun workouts and help you get outside and enjoying the snow! Winter only last a few months, so make the most out of the snow, even if you hate it.

Stay Rested

Another thing that is always important for optimal health is getting enough sleep and staying well rested. Being sleep deprived can have a negative effect on your immune system, making it hard to stay healthy. The mybody+soul article mentions a study that found that lack of sleep can cause a huge decrease in the white blood cells that fight off viruses and infections.

The Global Healing Center article also mentions that immune cells are most active throughout the sleep cycle, making sleep a very important part of staying healthy. While it may be difficult getting enough sleep, especially on those cold winter nights that you stay up watching holiday movies and waiting for Santa, it is important to make sure you stay well rested during the winter.

Spend Time Relaxing

Again, stress is never good for your health. Stress causes our bodies to increase the output of neuroendocrine hormones, which can have negative impacts on our immune system. The Wendy Polisi blog makes note of a study that shows people who are dealing with a significant amount of stress are two times more likely to get sick.

Relaxing, destressing, and spending time to yourself can help reduce your chances of getting sick and help you feel better and more in control of your life in general. Stress is never a good thing, so try doing this year round to feel better and stay healthier.

Stay Social

As strange as it may sound, staying social can actually help keep your immune system strong. Wendy Polisi mentions a study in her blog that found that college students who felt lonely or socially isolated had weakened immune systems. If hanging out with your friends can help you from getting sick, invite everyone over for a movie night, a night out on the town, or to build the best snow fort in the Northern Colorado area.

Wash Your Hands

Germs can spread easily, so washing your hands throughout the day and wiping down common areas with disinfectant wipes can help to stop germs from spreading too dramatically. Make sure you wash your hands before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after being in public areas, and any other time you feel necessary. Try not to touch your face too often, especially after touching things that other people touch.

There are many things you can do to stay healthy throughout the winter, but you just have to make sure you stick with them and work hard to stay healthy. While these are things that you should be doing all 365 days of the year to stay healthy, they are extra important in the winter. Your immune system is already struggling to keep up, so don’t make it worse by avoiding all of these simple things.

We hope you can stay healthy this winter, but if you don’t Integrative Health can help. View our services page to see what we offer and contact us with any questions you may have.