Protect yourself this winter with the 5 M's for better health.

Brisk Walk With a FriendCredit:

Movement:  With early darkness and cold temperatures outside it is often hard to get the exercise and movement that we should be getting on a daily basis.  The immune system benefits greatly from at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.  This should be a combination of cardiovascular and strength training to get the best benefit.  Finding the motivation to get up and move can be difficult during the winter months.  Overcome this by planning to exercise with a friend to give you company during your walk, especially if it is in the darker hours of the evening.  It's also an added incentive because you know that the other person is counting on you for their own personal exercise.  Enjoy a nice cup of green tea after a brisk walk to warm up after the being out in the cold.  Use your imagination for other types of exercise during the winter months such as playing on the Wii, going to an indoor swimming pool, or joining a dance or exercise class. 

Mood:  Researchers have discovered that when you look forward to an exciting event or experience it will boost your immunity.  Those who anticipate a positive experience have lower levels of the stress hormones that are often linked to a weakened immune system over time.  Loneliness and unhappiness can have a negative impact on the immune system as well.  Laughter will also increase your immunity!  Participate in activities that lighten you mood and you will have a general overall feeling of well-being.  Start planning your summer vacation now so that you have something to look forward to.

Moisture:  The spread of winter colds and flu is often due to winter's low humidity as germs stay active longer in dryer air.  A humidifier is the best way to increase the humidity level in your home and eliminate the germs that spread so quickly.  If you don't have a humidifier, simmer a pot of water during the day to add moisture to the air in your home.  Keep yourself hydrated as dry air from our heaters and the lower humidity in general can also dry out the mucous membranes, making you more susceptible to germs.  Drinking more water can help negate these effects.  You should drink at least six to eight glasses of water or water-based drinks (such as tea) each day.

Meditation:  Stress can wreak havoc on the immune system and compromise your body's ability to fight off germs.  The winter months tend to prove more stressful with holiday obligations, severe weather, and being "cooped up" or having "cabin fever."  Daily meditation can reduce stress and the relaxation techniques within meditation can boost the immune system.  Spending just ten minutes a day can decrease the symptoms of stress, which dampen the immune system.  Join a yoga class or check online to learn more about meditation techniques. 


Magic Foods:  The body's best defense against viruses is having a diverse diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.  There are also many health benefits in using a variety of spices, herbs and roots in our food.  They not only add healthy seasonings but strengthen our immunity.  Turmeric (found in all yellow curries or by itself), oregano (has the highest antioxidant compounds), garlic (the miracle food for everything), and ginger (the root that will help sweat out toxins) are just a few magic foods that are shown to have immune-boosting benefits and are delicious additions to your cuisine.  Add a cup of hot green tea in the winter to sooth and uplift your day.  It is rich in plant antioxidants, as well as other chemicals that will help protect your body against colds and flu. 

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Addressing these 5 M's in your life will help maximize your health by building up your immune system.