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Tips to stay healthy this winter

Value of exercise: Fitness guru Betty Doyling says 30 minutes of aerobic exercise sweeps white blood cells back into circulation (File photograph)

Staying healthy this winter isn’t just about having plenty of hand sanitiser and avoiding sick children.

Many daily habits, anything from fighting with a boyfriend or husband to staying up late watching ‘Scandal’, can impact how well our bodies fight off colds and flu.

Let’s check out some things to avoid and how to fix them:

Healthy friendships can boost your immune system. Research has shown that the fewer human connections we have at home, work, or in the community, the more likely we are to get sick and flood our brains with anxiety-causing chemicals than those that are more sociable.

Try and stay in touch with your friends by shooting them an e-mail, text or quick call. This is one of the reasons that I choose running dates, dinners and movies with friends. It’s a great excuse for the immune system!

Sleep is food for the brain. Poor sleeping habits can lower your immune system and reduce the amount of killer cells that fight germs.

Adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep per night. The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental sharpness, productivity and even your weight. Try and make sleep a top priority. Instead of cutting back on sleep to tackle the rest of your day, put sleep at the top of your to-do list.

Bottling up all of your emotions can weaken your immune system and increases risk of infectious diseases. Higher stress levels can cause emotional and physical problems. Don’t keep what’s bothering you bottled up. Let your feelings out. Talk, cry, laugh — something I’m always doing — and express anger when you need to in a healthy way.

You can also try going on a long walk, run or perhaps a yoga class to recover and unwind from stress-related thoughts or activities.

Carrying your own pen may keep you from picking up a virus. Cold and flu germs are easily passed through hand-to-hand contact. Any way you can avoid touching public objects, such as the bathroom door knob or the communal pen at the bank, will cut your risk.

Exercise aids in boosting your immune system. Experts say that it takes 30 minutes of aerobic exercise to sweep white blood cells back into circulation, which makes your immune system run more smoothly. Try to incorporate more exercise into your day to help strengthen your immune system over time.

We all know that smoking wreaks havoc on your health. Second-hand smoke is almost as harmful.

Second-hand smoke can trigger asthma attacks and can make preschool children’s asthma worse, and even cause it. Avoid second-hand smoke as much as you can, including spending time with friends while they smoke. Encourage friends and family to quit.

Keep your immune system healthy and B-Active For Life!

• Betty Doyling is a certified fitness trainer and figure competitor with more than nine years of experience. Check her out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/B.ActiveForLife