Especially during wintertime your immune system should run at its full capacity to protect you from getting sick. We’ll tell you how to support your body’s defense system with these eight simple but effective tips.
1. Try to stay positive
Constant stress makes you sick. So: be good to yourself, treat yourself to breaks, laugh a lot – a good mood keeps you fit. Avoid situations that you know will bring you down. If being at work is one of those situations, well, perhaps it’s time to get a different job.
2. Hot and cold foot bath
Boosting blood circulation and the immune system with alternating showers has proven itself, but might need some getting used to it. Don’t give up straight away, if you feel that it’s too uncomfortable for your taste. Keep at it, it will feel less uncomfortable after a few sessions. Fill a bucket up to the calf with cold water, and one with warm water. Now sit on a chair and alternately bathe your feet for three minutes warm and 15 seconds cold. Repeat three times and always finish the footbath in cold water.
3. Wear a hat and scarf
Out of the gym and into the cold with wet hair? Not a good idea: The head cools down quickly and the blood vessels in your airways contract, which makes it easier for viruses to penetrate.
Blow-dry your hair first before putting on your hat! And: biking and jogging in the cold only with some cover for your neck and face. Breath through your nose, if you can!
4. Keep your fingers off your face
While touching door handles, at ATMs, when shaking hands – we can potentially come into contact with pathogens everywhere. Without even realizing, we touch our faces afterwards. While talking on the phone, thinking, adjusting glasses, checking our hair, or in countless other scenarios.
Therefore it’s important to remember: hands off your face! Use a Bluetooth headset instead of your phone and wash your hands as often as possible. And maybe it is possible to resist that itch if you wait just a tiny bit longer.
5. Don’t go to work sick
Sometimes we just get sick, no matter what. Should that be the case, be smart and cure yourself at home, because neither your boss nor your colleagues benefit from you appearing sick at the office. You could potentially infect your colleagues, and getting healthy again might take extra long if you don’t take care of it right away.
6. Prevent a lack of sleep
The brain regenerates during sleep and processes what it learns during the day – we have known this for a long time. However, according to scientists, deep sleep could play an important role in our immune system.
According to a study, those who sleep less than seven hours at night are three times more likely to get a cold. It’s always a good idea to invest in a good mattress and pillow to optimally regenerate at nighttime.
7. Move – and get out!
When it comes to mobilizing the immune system, moderate endurance training is ideal. Running, swimming, walking – whatever you feel like. Studies have shown that even 20 minutes of moderate exercise (a small workout, climbing stairs, jogging, etc.) can be anti-inflammatory.
Working out too much on the other hand can put a lot of stress on the body, so always be active in moderation. Should you already be sick, try to refrain from physical activities completely. Your body needs rest now, not stress.
8. Dry air
While radiators are great to warm you on cold days, they have one negative effect. Breathing dry air can have a very stressful effect on your airways.
It dries out the mucous membranes – which makes it easier for viruses to attack.
Therefore, it is best to ventilate three times a day with the windows wide open. This way the dry air gets mixed with cooler, moist air from outside. Just be careful to not bring the temperature down too much, since cold temperatures can stress your immune system too.