I’ve already started to become surrounded by coughs and colds. Everywhere I go someone is complaining of sneezing, coughing etc usually stating it’s that time of year…..
According to statistics most of us get between 4 and 6 colds a year!
This is not helped by the trend of presenteeism in the office I.e. people turning up to cough and splutter their way through the day kindly sharing their germs with you, then there’s air conditioning, usually extra heating and the windows closed to really help lock those germs in and circulate them.
If you did not spend your youth building a robust immune system (read:being covered in mud and horse p&&) like I did then you’re going to need some extra help to make it through sniffle free.
- Firstly eating a balanced diet full of varied vegetables and fruit can ensure your body is getting a good range of nutrients. It has been shown that diets high in Salt, Sugar and Fat reduce white blood cells. Your white blood cells are basically your bug fighters so it’s extra important to keep 80% of your diet as Fruit, Vegetables and Lean protein at this time of year. It is also a good idea to back this up with a multivitamin.
- Vitamin D is vital for immunity but we get less at this time of year due to the lack of sunlight, so to give your immune system a boost as well as maintain bone health a Vitamin D supplement should be a winter staple.
- Over training. If you have a heavy training schedule it can take its toll, making it harder for your body to fend off illness. If you’re feeling a little run down or burnt out from your training it’s best to take a step back before you get ill and have to stop altogether. Basically adding in an extra rest day might just save you having to spend a week in bed further down the line.
- Sleep. This is similar to the over training, your body needs adequate rest to repair and regenerate. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep it’s going to suffer. Try to prioritise sleep like you would training sessions or important work deadlines-make time to get 6-8 hours in as much as you can.
- Manage your stress levels. When you are stressed you have raised levels of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol suppresses your immune system, which is fine on a very short term basis but when stress is prolonged this of course leaves you open to infection and being wiped out trying to fight it. I know life is kind of stressful by its nature but we should priories trying to minimise it’s effects. If you can, go out at lunchtime for some fresh air as this will re-oxyegnate your brain and help you feel refreshed. Try to spend some time winding down in the evening so that you sleep well and find ways to mentally recharge every day.