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Here's how to eat and exercise this winter to keep your immune system strong…

by , 19 April 2013

We're on the brink of winter in ‘sunny' South Africa, and weather experts are now warning we're in for a cold one. Like most people, you‘ve probably been warned off exercising in the cold winter months when you're body's more likely to fall sick - but you can take action by strengthening your immune system today before the cold REALLY hits us. This is a great strategy, as exercise does your body the world of good in winter! All you need to do is make this simple change to your exercise routine to stay healthy.

When winter hits, people tend to flip the switch from ‘fitness mode’ to ‘hibernation mode’.
But you don’t need to follow the trend.
Just adjust your exercise routine slightly, because too much intense exercise can reduce your immunity against colds and flu.
Adjust your exercise routine to keep healthy this winter…
To be more specific, research shows that more than 90-minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise seems to cause a temporary decrease in immune system function,” says PharmaChoice spokesperson, pharmacist, Liezl van Tonder.
That’s why it’s recommended you only do 30 minutes a day of exercise to protect your heart from heart disease and cut your risk of cancer in half, says FSP Health.
But don’t even need to set aside that much time with intense exercise.
Because it takes outdoor walking just three times a week to boost endurance and resting heart rate, says the BBC.
An added benefit of walking or cycling in winter is that you’ll feel the effect faster, as the cold air will soon have your cheeks flushed and your heart pumping.
But if you’re already ill, van Tonder advises against exercising as your immune system is already taxed by fighting your infection, so additional stress from exercise could undermine your recovery.
That’s why you need to protect yourself from getting sick this winter by taking preventative action to strengthen your immune system – no flu vaccination required.
Four immune-boosting foods to give colds and flu the boot this winter!
All you need to do is stock up on immune-boosting foods like garlic, lentils, fish and mushrooms.
Just remember to eat the veggies raw or go for steamed, stir fried or roasted fish to ensure they give your body the best cold and flu prevention, as these cooking methods lock in the immune boosting power, says Boost Your Immune System – Simple Steps To Strengthen Your Body’s Natural Defences.  
Following this winter exercise and eating plan will keep you healthy when the cold fronts really hit!

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