It’s that time of the year again! Yes, winter brings the joy of festive holidays, but it also brings cold and flu season. With the holidays approaching it can be easy to drift away from your exercise routine. However, exercise is as important as ever as it helps to support your immune system, boosting its efficiency at fighting infections.
How does exercise support the immune system?
As the body moves, muscles contract. These contractions help the lymphatic system –a main player in our immune system – circulate immune cell throughout the body and increase the removal of waste from tissues. Exercise can also reduce stress during the day and promote deep sleep at night, both of which are crucial for good health. States of relaxation and deep sleep provide time for the body to focus on healing, rebuilding and detoxifying.
Tips for staying active during the holidays:
- Get your family involved. If the holidays mean extra family time for you, take advantage of the opportunity to do something active together. Take turns picking an activity –wintertime walks, skating, taking a ski trip or maybe just playing in the snow.
- Get creative. Stuck inside due to poor weather? No problem. Turn your house into a temporary gym; try using your staircase for cardio, soup cans for weights and furniture for equipment. The options are endless!
- Try something new. Consider the change in seasons as an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga but don’t feel comfortable attending a class –check out what is available on line and begin an at-home practice.
- Make it a treat. This year, give yourself the gift of exercise, in whatever way works for you. Join a gym, buy a drop in pass for those classes you’ve been curious about, or maybe splurge on new exercise gear.
- Remember why physical activity is important to you. What motivates you to stay active during the rest of the year? Reminding yourself of your goals will help keep you on track during the busyness of the holidays.
Staying active over the holidays will give you energy to celebrate with friends and family, help you avoid getting sick and ease you into your health-focused New Year’s Resolutions!
Breanna Walker is an Exercise Therapist at InspireHealth Vancouver. Look out for future Hot Topic presentations by Breanna and the exercise team that look at the benefits a personalized exercise plan, along with ways to implement it in your life.