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Winter means skiing, hot chocolate, snuggling under a blanket…and an increased risk of coming down with a cold or the flu. Take these four steps to avoid losing time this season to nasty, no-fun infections.

Enjoy Local Raw Honey

Honey has been used to treat cough and cold symptoms for generations, and it will be even more effective if it’s local and raw. The reason: The bees living in and pollinating the flowers in your area are going to pick up all the bacteria in your region as they do so—so when you eat the honey, it acts as a mini vaccine that will shore up your immune system against any viruses or infections that are prevalent in your area this year.  

Up Your Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for maintaining mood, strong bones and a powerful immune system, yet the majority of humans’ vitamin D comes from the sun. So during the winter when you aren’t spending as much time outside, your vitamin D intake goes down. To maintain adequate vitamin D levels, up your consumption of the foods that do contain it, like egg yolks, mushrooms and salmon. You can also supplement with vitamin D3—it’s impossible to overdose on D, so the more you take, the better!

Beware of Doorknobs

Flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours, and they are most likely to be found in public places on frequently handled surfaces, like doorknobs, hand railings and coffee shop counters. Since these surfaces are often impossible to avoid completely, carry hand sanitizer to use after you come into contact with them and wash your hands as frequently as possible. If you wear gloves your skin won’t come into contact with the surface but the virus might then end up on the glove, so be sure to store them carefully when you’re not wearing them. 

Stay Active

Regular activity not only keeps you fit and strong, but it can also keep colds and flu at bay. Exercise tamps down on inflammation and stress, both of which can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to viruses and infections. It also increases the body’s circulation of illness-fighting white blood cells, helping you body stave off sickness if you do come down with something. Try to fit in a regular workout, like a Power for Life Fitness group fitness class, three times per week.

How do you avoid colds during the winter? Tell us on Instagram @powerforlifefitness!

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