As the leaves begin to turn and temperatures start to drop, we prepare for a new season. Football games, festivals, and bonfires give us more opportunities to have fun and unique social gatherings. But each year, as the cool, dry air brings people closer together, illnesses begin to rise. The good news is that you can work to keep yourself healthy this season. Here, I'll share some tips with you that can help to boost your immunity and give you the best chance to have a healthy fall.
1. Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet
Your immune system relies on a variety of vitamins and minerals to function optimally and defend against infections. During the fall season, make sure your diet is rich in immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and antioxidants. Fill your plate with vibrant, seasonal fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.
2. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for overall health, including a strong immune system. Drinking enough water helps your body flush out toxins and ensures that your cells can carry out their functions effectively. On cold days, you can opt for warm beverages like herbal teas, ginger-infused water, or hot lemon water. Warm beverages not only keep you to stay hydrated in the cooler months, but they also keep you warm!
3. Prioritize Sleep
Quality sleep is vital for a healthy immune system. Your body is a powerhouse! Just like a highway, it's always moving. When the body rests, cells and tissues are repaired from the daytime wear-and-tear. A well-rested body is better equipped to fend off illnesses. During the fall, particularly as the days get shorter, it's essential to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you struggle with falling asleep, try creating a more relaxing bedtime routine by turning off electronics, dimming the lights, and doing a light activity that doesn't make you think too hard, like reading.
4. Manage Stress
Chronic stress can weaken your immune system over time. Engage in stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or even regular walks in nature. Reducing stress not only benefits your mental well-being but also supports your immune system's function. Also, by lowering your stress, you help to lower the stress of others around you. A win-win!
5. Commit to Regular Exercise
Physical activity is another effective way to boost your immune system. It helps to lower inflammation and and improve blood circulation. According to the CDC, healthy individuals should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, which can include brisk walking, cycling, or dancing. Outdoor activities can be a fun, new way to experiment with some new kinds of movement as the cooling temperatures become more pleasant.
6. Soak in a Few Rays
Natural sunlight supports our health in several different ways. By exposing your skin to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. A vitamin necessary for calcium absorption, it also helps to boost your immune system. Sunlight can also improve mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that often affects people during the fall and winter months due to reduced daylight. Getting outdoors and soaking up natural light can help alleviate symptoms of SAD and improve your overall well-being.
7. Get Your Flu Shot
Fall is the season when flu activity typically begins to increase. Getting an annual flu shot is a simple and effective way to protect yourself and those around you from a more severe virus. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best time to get vaccinated.
8. Wash Your Hands
Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infections. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing, "Happy Birthday to You"), especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after being in public places.
9. Stay Social, but Safe
While staying connected with loved ones is essential for mental health, it's also crucial to follow recommended safety guidelines, especially if COVID-19 or other illnesses are still a concern. Older individuals with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of contracting illnesses. Consider outdoor gatherings, mask-wearing, and social distancing when necessary.
By following these tips and making a few adjustments to your lifestyle, you can strengthen your immune system and better enjoy the fall season. Remember though, that consistency is key. But even small changes can lead to a big differences in your overall health and well-being. If you (or someone you know) would like help in making a change this season, a health coach can support you. Contact Rediscover Wellness, LLC for a free consultation and see how we might work together to discover something new, about you!