Sunday, October 21, 2012

Must address the obvious.......

Cold and flu season is upon us, Friends.  A few tips to help us stay healthy and well through the next few months:

1. Get plenty of rest.  We heal when we sleep, so make sure you are getting the required 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night (but no more than that just because the bed is cozy and the rain is tapping on the window:)

2. Get REGULAR exercise. I have said it before, and I will say it again - - - - you must schedule it in each week or it will be the first thing to get the boot when the days fill up.  Studies show that people who get moderate and regular exercise each week (think: 3 - 4 times a week) get fewer colds and flus each year. Even if you do work out regularly and still get the crud, you will likely fight it and recover faster than someone who does not exercise regularly.

3.  Eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies high in phytochemicals which are ideal for helping your body play defense to infection. Stock your kitchen with a few of these infection-fighting superfoods such as kale, tomatoes, berries, grapes, grapefruits, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, mangos and spinach.

4. Manage stress.  I almost typed "reduce stress" but every time I read that, I snicker because you really can't eliminate a lot of stressors in your life. Especially "good" stress - Christmas, a new baby, a big celebration, a new home, landing a big account, etc.  And we certainly know we can't dodge all "distress" either - a job loss, an illness, grocery store temper tantrums, a hectic day.  So I like to say MANAGE stress effectively.  #'s 1, 2, and 3 above this will instantly help with that. Another way is to find 10 - 15 minutes a day to be still and let your mind go blank. Drink a cup of tea, watch a favorite t.v. program, get on Pinterest :), chat with a friend without multi-tasking, or even take a quick nap. 

5. Drink plenty of water.  Think of water as that internal bath that washes away toxins and yuck. Flush out what might have gotten inside all day long with plenty (remember....half your body weight in ounces) of good clean water.

A note about illness and exercise:
I am often asked if someone can work out if they aren't feeling 100%.  Here's a rule of thumb: if you are feeling ill from the throat "up" you can try to do what feels comfortable.  If you're symptoms are from the chest "down" (chest, cough, stomach issues) it's best to pass until you feel better.  Also, any type of fever would indicate chicken soup and sleep over a workout.  Some say you can ward off a head cold if you catch it right at the start by giving your body a great cardio workout.  I have found this to be true for myself sometimes.  At the end of the day, you must listen to your body and rest when it should rest BUT not use a little sniffle as an excuse not to train :)

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