You mean I don’t have to get sick this year? We are now in the point of the year where daylight hours have decreased, cooler weather is here to stay for a while which means more time spent inside, and between Halloween and Valentine’s Day sugar consumption is at an all-time high. Now is the time to take some proactive steps to keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy this cold and flu season.
1. Move your body and get outside!
This doesn’t mean hours and hours of cardio every day, but to move your body simply and intentionally. The average American sits approximately 10 hours per day! This can lead to disrupted blood sugar levels, increased insulin and blood pressure levels, edema (swelling) in your legs, and more. Physical activity should be enjoyable and not a daunting task that needs to be checked off. Take a daily walk with friends, have a dance party in your living room, go to the gym, rake the leaves, or go for a solo jog-these are all great examples of movement!
2. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, and sugary sweets.
I know, I know- this is the time of year where potlucks and parties are happening, and homemade treats and sweets are in full force, and you want to partake in it all! While this season is to be enjoyed, don’t allow it to be centered solely around food. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain weight during this season, limiting these items is going to be your greatest benefit. Processed sugar wrecks the good bacteria in your gut which can weaken your immune system. Not only will you keep off any unwanted pounds, but your sleep, productivity, and overall mood will be benefited as well.
3. Stay hydrated-drink water!
Water is important all year long but staying hydrated can be more of a challenge when we are not outside working up a sweat. Sometimes we can mistake thirst for hunger, which can lead to us overeating even when we are not truly hungry. Go ahead and add that cute water bottle to your Christmas list!
4. Get enough sleep
Getting adequate sleep at night has many benefits. It can help keep insulin levels regulated, your immune system strong, stabilize your moods, keep stress levels down,and help keep healthy relationships at work, school, or in your personal life.
5. Keep stress levels low
The holidays can feel like a lot of expectations. Keep stress levels low by knowing you don’t have to live up to anyone’s unrealistic expectations. The parties, dinners, gifts, etc. are all nice but they are not the most important things. Stress is one of our immune system’s arch enemies, don’t allow it to get the best of you!
6. Get your flu vaccine and keep your COVID-19 vaccines up to date.
It has almost been three years since the COVID-19 pandemic began. During this time, we have learned the importance of staying healthy and protected against communicable diseases and that it takes an effort from all of us to achieve that. Flu season typically starts around October and runs through March. This year it started earlier and many individuals young and old have been diagnosed. Just like the COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine will not always prevent you from catching the illness, but it will help decrease its severity. If you are interested in scheduling a flu vaccine and/or a COVID-19 vaccine, call the Burke County Health Department at 828-764-9150