Frugal (Fun) Ways to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

A cold is bad enough to go through, but getting the flu is worse. So how can you stay healthy when everyone else seems to be getting sick?
It’s true your best defence begins by washing your hands frequently and getting a flu shot, that’s not all you can do to keep those winter germs at bay. Let’s look at the most effective ways to stay healthy during this year’s cold and flu season.

Sing

The Carpenters iconic hit, “sing” can do more for your health than you knew!

Yes, you read that right. I said sing.

Japanese researchers have found that singing helps boost your immune system. When you sing, cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels drop, and immunoglobulin A (responsible for deflecting bacteria and viruses) amounts rise. When you sing, you’re actually strengthening your immune system against cold and flu bugs. So crank the radio and pick up that hair brush. Your audience awaits.

Yin Yoga for Health

Yin yoga, a gentle yoga practice, has been found to reduce the duration and the intensity of cold and flu symptoms almost 50%. And a recent study by Tufts University found Tai Chi had similar benefits. So before you get sick, get in the habit of practicing gentle yoga a couple of times per week.

40 Winks

Sleep is vital for good health and a healthy immune system. People who sleep fewer than seven hours each night are three times more likely to get sick! Studies have shown a reduced number of protective antibodies in individuals who received a flu shot and slept five or six hours a night when compared to flu-shot recipients who slept 8 hours.
A proper night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to arm yourself during the cold and flu season.

Probiotics

Probiotics can lessen cold and flu symptoms by reducing the body’s inflammatory response to respiratory viruses. Rutgers studies found that while people who regularly consumed the probiotics seemed to catch a cold with the same frequency as those who didn’t take probiotics; their symptoms were less severe and the duration of their symptoms significantly shorter. Liquids, powders, capsules, yogurt or other probiotic-rich foods can help keep you healthy.

Check out Dollar Tree for a great deal on probiotics ($1 for 30!)

Don’t hesitate to add fruit, springs of mint, or even frozen grapes to your water

Stay Hydrated

When you think of ways to avoid coming down with the flu, you may not automatically think of a glass of water. But drinking between 8-10 glasses of water each day can help you stay healthy year-round. When our bodies become dehydrated, they draw moisture from the air at a higher rate than usual, and that can pull airborne viruses directly into our body, increasing our chances of getting sick.

Don’t like drinking plain water? Try adding a slice of lemon or cucumber for a refreshing, flu-busting pick-me-up.

It’s no fun being sick, but by taking care of yourself before you get sick, you can make the most out of winter.

Failing Your Workout Resolution Already? Here’s How You Can Motivate Your Mojo

We have all said it at one time or another. 

I’m too lazy. 

I’m too tired. 

I don’t have time.

There are a hundred reasons to avoid working out. And, to a certain extent, they carry some truth. Today’s busy, fast-paced lifestyle leaves little time to invest in activities like these. If working out were easy, everyone would do it!

After working all day, too often you just don’t feel like you can workout.  Maybe you can find the time, but not the energy to engage in the physical exercise necessary to help loosen up that stiff body.  For most of us, after 8 hours of sitting in a chair at the office, you come home to sit in another chair:  this one in front of the TV.  It’s hard, almost impossible, to gather up the motivation to stretch out those tired, hard-working arms and legs.

Some lucky people can make the time, but find exercise itself too humdrum.  It’s natural to get bored doing the same workout routine every day.  But, there are ways to tackle the problem of exercise ennui:  get together with a friend or neighbour and workout together. Maybe even engage some friendly competition to see who can loose five pounds, or a dress size, first – whatever your personal goal is.  If that doesn’t work for you, try changing it up: if you traditionally work out in a gym, then why not go outside?  You might find an activity such as cycling or swimming to be just what was missing.  Our muscles also benefit from switching up the routine, so you’re not only bolstering your interest you’re increasing your overall health and fitness level!

Yoga With Adriene on Youtube

If you’re self-conscious or shy about joining an exercise class or group activity, or if there just aren’t enough leftover coins in the bottom of your purse to invest in a class you can always pop on a workout DVD (try borrowing from your local library for free).  Youtube.com is also a great resource.  Do a search for “yoga workout for beginners” and you’ll find plenty of variety to whet your appetite, and work out in the comfort of the living room.  

Image by rob9040

If you’re waiting for a perfect time to start, this is it!  That “perfect time” doesn’t exist the way we think it does.  There will always be some justification to postpone exercising, if you want to.  But the good thing is that same little voice telling you there’s a reason to delay, can also be your greatest motivator.  It can be the cheerleader that will always reassure you there’s time in a day to squeeze in even ten minutes of activity.  

If you’re carrying extra weight, and your goal is to shed a few inches, you may feel overwhelmed by the task.  But remember, you’re not loosing all that weight at once, because no one does.  And, while working out is good for shrinking the waistline, it  also has cardiovascular health benefits. It makes your body flexible and strong, and doesn’t that feel so much better than a dozen little aches after bending, even just a little?  And, not only is working out good for physical health, but studies have shown that exercise releases stress and is key in maintaining a positive, happy outlook. 

Whichever method you chose, you’ll be glad you did.  At the end of the day moving is always better than not moving.