Can These Simple Tips Keep You Healthy?

As fall approaches many of us become concerned about staying healthy for the winter. Once cold weather hits, weíre indoors more and around family, friends and coworkers typically in tight quarters. The good news is that with a few simple tips you can stay healthy year round regardless of whatís going around at home or in the office.

Wash often.Wash your hands regularly for at least 30 seconds with plenty of soap and water as warm as you can tolerate. If soapís not available, a good hand sanitizer can kill germs in as little as fifteen seconds. Equally important, keep your hands off your face. Based on observational studies, the average person touches his/her face sixteen times an hour. Since your nose, eyes and mouth are key entry points, itís a good idea to retrain yourself to keep your hands off!

Think fresh.Even in winter you can still find plenty of vitamin-rich fresh fruits and vegetables to add to your diet. Aim for five servings a day. If you canít find your favorites fresh, opt for frozen, the next best.

Reduce your intake of saturated fats and refined sugars.Our American diet of fast foods and processed meals is loaded with fats and sugars that depress your immune system, add pounds to your waistline, and make you lethargic in general. Pack a healthy lunch and save money too.

Keep a clean kitchen.Many of us prepare more meals in the fall and winter. Unfortunately, cross contamination of food - like cutting a raw chicken, followed by bread on the same cutting board - is a major source of food-borne digestion problems. Between uses, thoroughly clean with hot water and soap and let air dry. Regularly bleach cutting surfaces.

De-stress.Stress can measurably depress your immune system. Whether itís indulging in a massage, having dinner with a friend or listening to music, de-stress by taking time every day to do something just for yourself.

Sleep more.Sleep recharges your system, but with our 24/7 lifestyle, few of us actually get our 7-9 hours of shut-eye. Poor sleep is associated with lower resistance, so practice good sleep hygiene, get to bed early and wake up refreshed.

Play outside.Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week, preferably outdoors where you can also get a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Not only does your body benefit from exercise, but studies show that itís also good for your brain and mood because it releases feel-good endorphins. Surprisingly, most of us spend 90 percent of our lives indoors, so take every opportunity to get outside.

Laugh it up.Have you noticed that after periods of high stress you feel run down? Thatís because our bodies respond to emotions. When you're happy and relaxed, your immune system stays strong. Laughterís even more powerful because it actually increases immune cells and decreases stress hormones. Canít find anything to laugh about? Rent a funny video, go to a comedy club, or spend time with your ďfunnyĒ friend.

Sanitize your office.Desktops can be a breeding ground for germs. Antibacterial wipes - available in many scents, individually wrapped or in handy canisters - make an ideal office cleaner. They work on many different types of surfaces and can kill up to 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria. Great for wiping down phones, pens, desktops, light switches, door handles - anywhere you or coworkers touch.

Make this year your healthiest ever. By choosing just three or four of the above suggestions - and sticking to them - youíre sure to stay strong this fall and all year long. Start your wellness plan today!



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