Day 1…the countdown to Christmas begins!
There’s nothing worse than being sick over the festive period. Rudolph might have made a name for himself with a red nose, but it’s not a look that’ll land you a kiss under the mistletoe. Winter is cold and dark, and you need to put in extra effort to make sure you’re not sniffling while those sleigh bells are jingling. Don’t despair, we’ve got a stocking full of tips to keep you in top health.
✓ Stock up on cranberry sauce
It’s a Christmas dinner favourite, and cranberries are a great immune system booster. They’re packed full of vitamin C, which bolsters your body’s bug fighting abilities. In particular, Vitamin C is especially important when it comes to combating the common cold. They’re also a good source of proanthocyanidins, which help prevent urinary tract infections in women.
If cranberries aren’t your thing, ask Santa for oranges, strawberries, lemons or even brussels sprouts.
✓ Get your heart rate going
As we all know, exercise strengthens your heart and sends blood pumping round your body at a higher rate. This provides your organs and muscles with more oxygen. Thus, the cells in your body that fight off harmful bacteria also get a boost. This makes them more adept at discovering potential colds and bugs that have made their way into your system. Studies suggest this boost only lasts for a few hours after you exercise, but if you exercise regularly that could be all you need to catch any problems before they develop.
✓ Pay attention to resting
Over tiredness is a sure fire way for you to pick up a bug over the festive period. So make sure you pay attention to your sleep routine, in the same way that you do your exercises. You wouldn’t go to the gym unprepared, so don’t go to bed without properly winding down if you struggle nodding off. You should aim for eight hours a night to achieve optimum rest and recuperation. Read a book or a magazine, light a scented candle and consider relaxing as essential as hitting all your reps.
✓ Go easy on the eggnog
Festive drinks for many come part and parcel with the winter season. However, if you’re serious about dodging holiday illnesses, you’ll have to lay off heavy boozing. Too much alcohol and your body will be so focused on expelling your tequila toxins it will have little energy left to beat off a creeping cold. You may not need to go tee-total, however. A 2013 study in Medical News Today found that in moderation, alcohol can actually help boost the body’s bacteria fighting functions. I don’t think moderation counts as 6 Sambuca shots at your office Christmas Do, but a glass of wine or beer should do the trick.
✓ Keep a routine
It’s a common complaint – just when you’ve clocked out for a few days off, you start to feel under the weather. Turns out, it’s psychological.
Professor Cary Cooper, of the University of Lancaster in England, says taking a break from work can have a negative effect if done too quickly:
‘Your immune system is stimulated by the pressure, so when you have deadlines your body knows you can’t get ill. When you take a break your immune system just thinks – no more pressure. I can get sick now.’
But fear not, you don’t have to cancel all your holiday requests. Simply keep elements of your routine similar. Get up at the same time as usual, keep to your normal workout plan. When you want to groan at the alarm, just think. Santa goes right round the world every Christmas Eve instead of the pub. And if you follow our advice and be nice rather than naughty, he might just leave a cold-free Christmas under the tree!