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Snow Days and Sick Days

Snow Days and Sick Days

5 Expert Tips for Keeping Winter Illness at Bay


Welcome to our winter wonderland! It's that time of year when maintaining good health and well-being can be a bit challenging. The cold weather and the darkness can get us down as the "winter blues" set in, not to mention the increased risk of germs and viruses. But don't worry, we've got you covered with our five best tips to help you feel fit, healthy, and relaxed all winter long. And let it snow, because nothing can stop us now!


Tip 1: Exercise is Key.  During winter, we tend to miss out on the beneficial effects of sunlight, which is necessary for producing vitamin D. This "sunshine vitamin" is essential for strengthening our bones and boosting our muscle strength. But exercising outdoors can actually help with that. Whether it's walking, jogging, tobogganing, or ice skating, being active outside can make a huge difference in how you feel. Don't like the outdoors? No problem. Try yoga, gentle strength exercises, or even hula hooping within the comfort of your home. Just make sure you get some daylight or invest in a daylight lamp to stay energized.


Tip 2: Fruits and Fluids.  Don't let the cold weather stop you from eating fresh fruits every day. In fact, it's essential to keep your vitamin levels up during winter. Not only does the warm air from central heating systems dry out our mucous membranes, making us more vulnerable to germs, but our immune system also needs special support during this time. Vitamin C plays a key role in supporting our immune system, while vitamins A, B1, B12, and D are also important in maintaining good health. So, drink plenty of water, unsweetened tea, and try out some of Dole's delicious recipes to keep your body nourished.  If a warm cuppa soup sounds good to you, try our Winter Solstice Soup – it’s creamy and delicious!


Tip 3: Keep your feet warm. Cold feet in winter are unpleasant and can even weaken your body’s defenses. Why? Lower temperatures can slow blood circulation to the hands and feet to preserve the body’s core temperature. If you’re prone to poor circulation or diabetes, you may be especially prone to winter foot problems!  Cold conditions can dry out skin and nails and make them more susceptible to damage and infection. So keep your feet nice and warm! Bundle up with cozy socks. Stand up and walk around regularly at home or in the office – this also increases blood flow.


Tip 4: Wash your hands regularly.  This tip seems to be an old reliable and yet it is often forgotten (and not only in the winter). Washing your hands regularly is actually the best protection against illness. After all, bacteria and viruses are commonly found in buses, supermarkets and other public areas. If they reach your mouth or nose, they can cause colds. Handwashing includes a few simple steps: Remove your jewelry and cover the surface of your hands, wrists, fingers and fingernails completely with soap lather. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands thoroughly with warm, running water and dry them with a clean towel or air dryer.


Tip 5: Hibernate.  Research published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, found that participants got 30 minutes more REM sleep in winter vs summer.  This may be due to circadian rhythm shifts that come with the lack of daylight and increased melatonin production. With that, aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Trust us, your body will thank you for it!


Published February 1, 2024

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