How to stay healthy this cold and flu season so that you can perform your best on the field!

How to stay healthy this cold and flu season so that you can perform your best on the field!

Timely and important advice from Olympus Movement Performance

Q: Help! Everyone around me is sick, how can I help myself stay healthy?
A: Wash your hands and stay F.R.E.S.H.

WASH YOUR HANDS!

One of the first lessons learned as an RN was proper handwashing technique. It seems basic, but so many people get it wrong and proper handwashing is one of the best first-line defenses against getting sick and spreading illness. 20 seconds (sing happy birthday to yourself twice) with warm water and soap, being sure to scrub palms, back of hands, in-between fingers, under fingernails, and pay attention to your cuticles and thumbs (some of the most commonly neglected areas). Especially do this after you have been outside, touching things throughout the day means that germs/bacteria has been passed onto you and will need to be washed off. You can also reduce contact with sickness by wearing gloves when you are out and a face mask, both of which you can dispose of before you step into your home, keeping your surroundings safe.

FRUITS, VEGGIES and SUPPLEMENTS

Eating more of these and lots of other great whole foods that deliver key nutrients that boost your immune system. Sauerkraut, bone broth, turmeric seasoning, seagreens such as kelp and spirulina are all great additions to help boost your immune system.

Supplements can also play a key role in boosting your immunity and overall health! Supportive supplementation can include probiotics, B-complex, B-12, zinc, vitamin C, elderberry syrup, or lozenges. This liposomal b complex is one particular supplement that can support detoxification and increase energy metabolism.

I also have to add the dreaded list of what to AVOID: limit sugar, processed foods, caffeine and alcohol. I know this can be hard, but being sick is much harder, and these foods weaken your immune system and can actually feed some types of pathogens!

RELAX

Stress can definitely be detrimental to your immune system and your overall health and wellbeing. Now is a great time to start building-in a relaxation moment into your day… meditate, get outside, try starting a gratitude journal. Laugh; watch a few funny videos or spend time in the company of someone who makes you laugh. Do a few minutes of left-nostril breathing (yes, this is a thing, and it has actually been shown to reduce sympathetic nervous system activity, which is your fight or flight response that is hyperactive during stress). Whatever you choose, it doesn’t need to take up too much of your time and don’t think of it as another addition to your ever-growing to-do list. Think of it as an essential part of your daily self-care routine, just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

EXERCISE

Move your body! Even better, take your workout outside and get some vitamin D and fresh air. A brisk walk, yoga, bike ride, group fitness class at Olympus, play Soccer…just move. Perhaps even look into going on a hike and camping trip. However, always remember that both hiking and camping can be dangerous, so it’s important to take the right equipment with you. For example, you may be in an area that is prone to dangerous wildlife. Therefore, always take the best survival knife for the money, as well as a sufficient amount of water, food, and general camping and hiking gear. Hiking is a great form of exercise and definitely shouldn’t be ruled out because of some potential dangers. Exercising regularly boosts blood flow, which circulates white blood cells through the body. White blood cells are the cells of the immune system that protect the body against disease. The immune system responds to exercise by producing more of these cells.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the rise in body temperature during and after exercise can actually help you fight infection better by preventing bacteria from growing. Due to the heavier breathing rate during exercise, you also can flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways by exercising. Regular moderate exercise not just boosts your immune system, but boosts your mood and overall health and well-being.

SLEEP

Aim for 7-9 hours. Turn off your screens, try keeping your phone on the other side of your room if you’re too tempted to scroll before you snooze. Try a sound machine, or tea and a warm bath before bed. Buy yourself a new NOA mattress (click here for more information) to ensure you’re comfy whilst sleeping. Write down a list of everything running through your mind that might be keeping you up. According to The National Sleep Foundation, without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines. Cytokines are a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, and they are both produced and released during sleep, so skimping on sleep is a double whammy against this powerfully important immunity component. Chronic sleep loss can even make the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond. So, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..

HYDRATE

Water, water, water! Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness. Drink when you feel thirsty, set an alarm on your phone if you’re not in the habit of listening to your body. 8 glasses 8 times a day, plus 4-8 ounces for every 15 minutes of exercise is a good place to start if you are not good about staying hydrated.

Be happy, be healthy, be well!

Lauren Jones,
Registered Nurse

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