Stay Fighting Fit this Winter
This time of year is often associated with coughs, colds and flu and yet we are always surrounded by viruses. So why are we more likely to catch a virus now? Simply put, a cold is often the body’s way of letting us know that we are a little run down and that our immune system needs time to recharge.
With that in mind, we explore the six simple steps you can take to boost your immune system and keep those pesky virus' at bay.
1. Get moving!
As temperatures fall we are often less motivated to exercise our bodies. But our muscles need to be stretched, our lungs expanded and the digestive system toned in order for oxygen to reach the tissues and waste products to be eliminated. Doing exercises that open the chest and shoulder areas such as brisk walking, cycling or swimming are great for this. In my Dru yoga practice I use postures to stimulate the solar plexus, such as The Inner Fire Sequence, as well as forward bending and twisting postures. The deep yogic breath also removes stagnant energy from the lungs.
2. Get out!
Bluntly speaking, you need to get out on those bright, crisp, sunny days that are often as rare as hen’s teeth. Sunlight provides us with Vitamin D – a natural antidepressant and immune booster - and stimulates the pineal gland. Just 20 minutes a day is all we need. Why not wrap up warm and eat your lunch in the park before going back to the office? Or, for the brave, get up early and practice Sun Salutation in your garden. Give the neighbours something to wonder at. I do, all the time.
3. Nourish your body
The common cold is also the body’s way of detoxing and we can do a lot to aid this natural process. Diet should include plenty of fresh leafy vegetables for healthy lungs. Fresh ginger has been used for over 2,000 years as a medicinal root. It is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Adding onions and garlic to your winter meals are tasty and cheap ways of improving your immune system. Onions contain quercitin which breaks up mucous and boosts your immune system; and garlic contains allicin which promotes the activity of white blood cells to destroy viruses. Whereas I normally recommend food as your medicine, for those on anticoagulants, I do not recommend using garlic as this may interfere with drugs such as Warfarin. Remember, warm food is key at this time of year, so add these super foods to your soups and casseroles to ensure a tasty and natural way of preventing colds and flu.
And finally, listen to what your mother used to say. Wear a scarf. When the really cold weather does arrive, keeping your neck warm and covering your nasal passages and mouth with that Christmas scarf your kids bought you last year really does work.
No, this is not an invitation to reach for your favourite hot toddy (although, make mine a honey, lemon and a splash of medicinal Jura). During the colder months our kidneys and adrenal glands are at their most vulnerable. They need rest, warmth and water. Those of you who come for the Bowen Technique know how much I stress the importance of drinking at least 5-6 glasses of pure water daily. When our body is inflamed – as in the case of a fever – our need for water increases. Headaches, often associated with a cold, are more likely due to dehydration, so before reaching for the aspirin try increasing your fluid intake. I recommend warm instead of cold water at this time and you can add lemon or ginger as a healthy change to tea or coffee. Sage tea is especially good for sore throats and peppermint tea is a good digestive stimulant.
5. Rest, laugh and play
Children rarely complain about the seasonal chill in the same way that adults do. They run around, throwing leaves, splashing in puddles and laugh as they play all their usual games – just with more layers which we parents have smothered them in. So find your inner child and kick up those leaves. Walk in nature. Take time to meet friends or make new ones by joining a class at your local Adult Education centre. Some people find the dark nights make them feel more isolated and some even experience seasonal affected disorder (SAD), anxiety or depression. Many of my clients have reported a significant improvement in their mental and physical health by making simple lifestyle changes and using Homeopathic remedies.
6. Discover Complementary Therapies
People often consider complementary therapies to be nothing more than an alternative to allopathic (mainstream medical) solutions to our health. I think they are missing the point. If we use complementary therapies such as the Bowen Technique, Homeopathy and Yoga for Health, we can improve our immune system and often avoid winter ailments altogether. With that in mind, be sure to explore the rest of this site and find out how these therapies can improve your overall well-being, all year round.
And remember, prevention is better than cure!
If you would like to discuss anything mentioned here, why not give us a call on 07746 799536, or book an appointment to create a tailor made lifestyle plan and make sure you're fighting fit this winter!