3 Immunity-Boosting Exercises For A Cold Winter Morning
When the temperature drops, it can be easy for the basics that keep your immune system in fighting shape to fall by the wayside. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and outdoor activities are often swapped for sitting by warm fires and comfort food. But with cold and flu season in full effect, you won’t want to give up on keeping your immune system in fighting shape. After all, you need it to protect you from the pesky illnesses that make their yearly visit right on time during the winter!
Exercise is one of several things you can do for your immune system to keep it strong throughout the winter months. But with many areas covered in a blanket of snow and ice, what are your options for getting moving when it’s cold outside and you’d rather stay cozy in bed? Let’s take a look at some ideal immunity-boosting exercises for a cold winter morning.
Is your immune system weak during winter?
While cold weather may not directly cause your immune system to become weak, the winter season can leave you susceptible to illness far more than the other months of the year. This is because pathogens that cause seasonal ailments, such as the flu virus, are primed and ready to go when the air gets chilly and dry. These conditions are perfect for their survival, and they spread easily, latching on to as many people as possible.
Another possible reason the immune system suffers during the winter is a lack of vitamin D (or the “sunshine vitamin”). The days grow shorter, and the sun spends a lot less time shining than it does throughout the rest of the year. This lack of exposure can deplete vitamin D levels significantly, especially in people who don’t get enough through their diet.
Research has also shown that people are much more likely to experience other health issues such as heart attacks and strokes during the winter months, and that death rates tend to rise during this time too. While this may not be directly related to your immune system, it generally shows that people are less healthy when the temperatures drop and the seasons change from sunny and warm to cold and dark.
How can I boost my immune system in cold weather?
Boosting your immune system during the winter can be done, but there is no cold-weather quick fix to immune health. Your best bet is to stick to general immune-boosting practices that can be done all year.
One thing to focus on during the cold weather months is sleep. The darker days make it much easier to fall into a sleepy pattern of daytime naps or less-than-adequate circadian rhythms. When your sleep cycle is disturbed, it can harm the immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens and be ready for war in case the cold or flu does infiltrate your body. Sleep is vital to immune health, so keeping up with a routine will help your immune system fight during the cold months.
You should also focus heavily on what you put into your body. While it may be tempting to stick to warm, calorie-dense, delicious comfort foods when it’s cold outside, you’ll be doing your health a disservice if that’s all you’re eating. There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of foods in moderation, but the bulk of your diet should contain immune-boosting nutrients such as vitamins D and C, protein, probiotics, beta-carotene, and zinc. These health-happy compounds can be found in fruit, vegetables, and lean meats.
What are the best workouts to boost your immunity this winter?
Exercise is another immune-boosting activity you should keep up with during the winter. But what are the best exercises for cold winter mornings?
Cardio exercises, such as running, swimming, cycling, and walking, are all great options for keeping your health in tip-top shape. Doing a good amount of cardio can help encourage better immune system functioning by improving the speed at which white blood cells can get around the body.
That said, you don’t have to go sprint in the snow to have a good workout! Moderate-intensity cardio does the trick. During a cold winter morning, you can get bundled up and take a walk around your neighborhood, join your local gym and take a quick jog on the treadmill indoors where it’s warm, or even do jumping jacks in your pajamas right in your living room.
If you’d rather embrace the cold fully, why not hit up a frozen pond or an ice rink and get your cardio through some winter skating?
2. Yoga or Pilates
Yoga and Pilates are styles of exercise that can be highly personalized to a person’s fitness level. They are also great at reducing stress and getting the muscles working. If you want to avoid the outdoors, pull out a yoga mat and pick your favorite class to take in the comfort of your warm living room.
These exercises help the immune system because they reduce stress levels. Stress hormones suppress the action of the immune system, so if you leave them unchecked, it can seriously harm your ability to fight off infection.
3. Moderate-intensity weightlifting
Weightlifting is great for your health for a variety of reasons. It improves muscle mass and strength and helps with metabolism. When it comes to immunity, training your muscles using weights can help boost the immune system by reducing stress and increasing the number of white blood cells you have. Your white blood cells are soldiers for your immune system, fighting off pathogens and keeping you healthy. The more of them you have, the better your body will be in battle.
The good news is that weightlifting can also be done in the comfort of your home, as it doesn’t require a lot of space or equipment. You only need two heavyweights, and you can put together an entire workout of your own or find one online.
It’s important to focus on your immune system if you want to stay healthy throughout winter. While the colder months can make it harder to stay well, getting sleep, eating right, and exercising regularly will give you the best fighting chance.