Most winters I actually sail through without colds. But late winter/early spring? I often succumb to some sort of bug at that time. I’m sure that not having kids helps keep those winter germs/bugs at bay. I’m not a hermit, though, so I do come in contact with cold bugs.
Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run chose 5 ways to stay healthy during the holidays. Funny, just last week my friend in my Weight Watchers meeting had a cold and I told her not to breathe on me! I certainly didn’t want to get sick before my 15k, even if it wasn’t really a goal race.
So far, knock on wood, doing good.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
It can be tougher to stay well hydrated as the temperatures dip. My secret weapon is tea. All sorts of teas. I probably get at least half my 8 cups a day of liquids from tea during the winter. It’s just so comforting!
I load up on Tulsi, Traditional Medicinals Ecinachea, and Hisbiscus in addition to my daily green teas.
Spring/summer I’m all about the salads. Fall/winter I’m all about soups. And if I do succumb to a cold, there’s nothing better than matzo ball soup. Even though Manischwietz has got some suspicious ingredients in it, I swear by it.
Of course mom’s chicken soup is even better.
Shake it up
Add some variety into your life. I like bananas and apples in the winter; apples and bananas. I have been forcing myself to eat more grapes and clementines. It’s true that fresh fruit is more limited in winter, but there is more to life than just bananas and apples (no matter how much I like them).
Same goes for veggies. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, baby bok choy, spaghetti squash — what’s your favorite winter veggie?
You know how they say to eat a rainbow? That’s because all the different colored freggies (that’s fruits/vegetables) have different vitamins & minerals in them — the more variety you eat, the more vitamins/minerals/antioxidants you’re getting.
You can still take your multivitamin, but nothing beats mother nature.
I’m not telling you you need to forgo the holiday cookies and treats, but be mindful about just how much extra sugar you’re consuming. It will make you tired after that initial sugar rush, and it will pack on the pounds.
And beware the sneaky sugars — it’s everywhere — in ketchup, in yogurt, in tomato sauce, those packaged oatmeal packets — the list goes on and on. Cut out some of those extras and enjoy some more of the real goodies.
Some people will claim sugar isn’t addictive, but I know the more I eat sugary treats, the more I want sugary treats. And artificial sweeteners just make you crave more sweets, too, in my humble opinion. I sweeten my tea with stevia, although I drink my green tea straight up (wasn’t always that way).
I know: we’re runners and we need our carbs. But carbs are basically sugar in disguise. Try to go with whole grains more often than processed grains; go a little lower carb on days where you’re not working out hard; up your fat (gasp!) and protein to help you feel full.
Your mom was right: wash your hands!
Washing your hands just might be the biggest weapon in your bug-slaying arsenal. I’m not a germaphobe; I don’t carry sanitizer around with me; but washing hands will do more to keep those bugs away than you realize.
Bonus: Emergen-c, or my secret weapon
I know that scientific studies say Vitamin C supplements do nothing more than give us vitamin c pee (sorry for that image). I don’t care if it’s placebo, but if I’m under stress or feel something coming on, I try to be proactive with Emergen-c. It kind of blows away the whole avoid sugar thing, but in this instance, the tradeoff is worth it to me.
I start taking it the week before a racecation. I take it when I feel particularly run down or stressed out. And I love the taste; I won’t lie!
Do you have a go-to if you feel a bug coming on?