Five tips to stay on top of your health this winter

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Stay on top of your health this winter, with these tips from Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan.

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping; winter is here.

During the colder months, there is a greater tendency to rug up and stay in the warm indoors and eat comfort foods. But with it, winter brings an increased chance of illness, so here are some tips to keep away the winter blues.

One, boost your diet. Fill your plate with plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables so your body has adequate amounts of nutrition and energy, therefore keeping your immune system strong. Vegetables soups or stews are an easy way to get a large quantity of vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep you strong and healthy throughout the season.

Two, stay hydrated. Unlike summer, dehydration is less noticeable during the colder months. It’s important to ensure you are still drinking plenty of water each day. Even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue and problems with concentration. If cold water is too much handle in the cold weather, try mixing it with some boiled water with lemon.

Three, keep exercising. The chilly mornings and evenings can make it easier to rug up and stay indoors, but it’s important to maintain regular exercise throughout winter. Make your physical activity social and fun – go for a brisk walk with family or participate in some indoor fitness classes. Regular exercise naturally improves your health and fitness, putting your body in a better position to fight off any potential colds or infections.

Four, sleep well. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to bacteria or viruses, such as the common cold. How much sleep you get also affects how quickly you recover from your sickness. The average adult needs about eight hours of sleep to fully recharge. Set a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or evening, limit screen-use before bed and ensure your room is a comfortable temperature. Being too cold (or too hot!) can affect your brain’s ability to switch off.

Five, consider hygiene and be careful around people. Wash your hands often, especially before you eat and before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Carrying an alcohol-based hand sanitiser in your bag can assist with cleaning your hands when you are in a public place. Don’t share the same glass, utensils or towels as other, and be careful anyone who has who has as fever, cold or flu.

It is imperative we do all we can to stay healthy this winter, not only for yourself, but also for those who have lower immunity, such as young children, the elderly and those who have health conditions such as cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also important for those living with cancer, as it can assist through and after treatment and help with your mental and physical well-being.

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