There is simply no good time for a cold or flu to hit, and unfortunately, the consequences can reach into every part of your life with absolutely no notice. With the implementation of a handful of simple preventative measures, however, you can minimize the impact they have on your life while granting your body the ability to weather the storm with a lower degree of residual effects. Activities such as frequent hand washing, regular exercise, stress reduction, regular water intake, consistent sleep patterns, and the inclusion of probiotic and antioxidant-rich foods can make a world of difference with very little impact to your everyday routine. 



Frequent Hand Washing


It seems like there are hand washing signs just about everywhere you go nowadays, but for some reason, many people only make an effort to do it when they are not at home. While it's very important to wash your hands when out and about, it's also important to remember to wash them frequently when you are in your safe place, as well. You don't need to use any harsh chemicals for the desired effect to be achieved, either. Washing your hands with soap and water will remove germs, as well as the dirt those pesky little critters like to cling to. Remember, washing your hands before performing tasks is just as beneficial and important as scrubbing them when the job is done.   



Regular Exercise   

First things first, regular exercise and strenuous exercise are two very different things. You don't have to hit the gym for an hour every day in order to give your body enough exercise to boost your immune system and increase your chances of fighting off illness. Instead of bogging yourself down with unrealistic expectations of intense aerobics, consider parking a little farther away from the post office when you go to get the mail, taking a short walk in the evening with your special someone, or perhaps doing some squats or yoga forms while you watch your favourite show in the evening. When the body is getting a consistent, stable amount of exercise, it allows your system to work more efficiently with less effort, which grants that little bit of wiggle room you need when a flu or cold stops by for an unexpected visit.   



Stress Reduction 

Stress is an unavoidable part of everyday life, regardless of who you are, where you work, how many kids you have, or where you live. While not all stress is bad, it can have a huge impact on your overall health. When you are stressed out on a regular basis, your heart rate remains higher than it should, which can result in muscle fatigue, increased blood pressure, and lethargy. These ailments cause a reduction inconsistent body functions which leads to a lower immune response in your body. You can reduce your chance of compromising your immune system with simple and effective stress-relieving activities such as yoga, meditation, listening to music, watching a favourite show, or even sitting down with a good book for a little while every evening.   


Regular Water Intake 

Water is an essential part of your everyday life, and if you've ever looked into how to become healthier, it was probably one of the first recommendations you came across. It is a well-known fact that water is required for human survival, but there are some benefits to it that you might not know yet. First and foremost is the fact that a lack of hydration causes your body to reduce its functions down to the most basic level required for survival. This means that your immune system is being compromised simply because you have not given it enough water to function properly. In order to give yourself the best chance of fighting off illness, the function of your immune system needs to be a priority, and it really is as simple as drinking more water. Secondly, frequent water intake can actually help wash foreign bacteria that enters through your mouth all the way down to the stomach where the acids we use for digestion make short work of ensuring that bacteria doesn't find its way into your bloodstream. Recently, it has been noted by many health professionals that you can take it one step further by ingesting water while it's warm, making it easier for the body to digest, as well as granting the added bonus of relieving congestion.   


Consistent Sleep Patterns 

There is a plethora of research that indicates a lack of sleep, as well as irregular sleep patterns, can have a large impact on how efficiently the body operates. One thing to keep in mind is that your body can repair itself when you're sleeping because it produces more protein than it does while awake, which helps form the cells needed to repair damage sustained throughout the waking hours. The more consistent your sleep pattern is, the more competent your body will become at rectifying imbalances before they become a problem. 



Inclusion of Probiotic and Antioxidant Foods 

The good bacteria found in probiotics creates a barrier that can reduce viruses in your bloodstream, as well as increase your body's immune response, while antioxidants help prevent damage to the cells within the immune system. When you put those two benefits together, it becomes easy to justify the amount of effort it requires to ensure you are getting a decent amount of each every day. The good news is that both probiotics and antioxidants are readily available in many common foods. For example, you can find a consistent supply of probiotics in foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, pickles, and cheddar cheese, while antioxidants can be found in foods like almonds, pecans, spinach, and blueberries. By substituting some of these enriched foods into your diet, you can give your body yet another helping hand when it comes to boosting your immune system and maintaining good overall health.   


Cold and flu season doesn't have to leave you feeling like you got hit by a tornado on a clear day. Making a few simple modifications to your daily routine can increase the body's natural defences and grant you the ability to fight off viruses and infections before they have a chance to disrupt your life. 

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