There’s never a convenient time to catch a cold, but it has a habit of coming on at the most inopportune times — like just before you leave for vacation or attend a special event. While there’s no cure for the common cold or the flu, there are ways to build up your immune system that will help reduce your risk of getting sick.
Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet.
In order to maintain a healthy immune system, you must have a healthy body — and that means committing to a healthy diet. Be sure to include foods, like fruits and vegetables, that are rich in vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene. Limit unhealthy foods that fill you up with empty calories.
2. Exercise regularly.
Yes, we hear this all the time, but it’s true. A regular exercise regimen helps boost your immune system. It helps the blood circulate and keeps you active. Even mild to moderate exercise can help improve immunity.
3.Get enough sleep.
As you get older, you may wake up frequently throughout the night or have trouble falling asleep in the first place — but rest is essential to keeping you healthy.
Swapping out different types of pillows, ensuring your room temperature is right for you, not eating before bed and making your room dark enough for a good night’s sleep — all are things you can do to ensure more restful sleep.
4. Reduce stress.
It may seem odd that stress could have an effect whether or not you contract a virus, but it plays a significant role. When your body releases stress hormones, it compromises your immune system. That means you’re unable to effectively fight viruses when they enter your body. If you’re feeling stressed, try a few stress-relieving activities, such as exercising, yoga, learning mindfulness or meditation, or even getting out and socializing with friends and like-minded people.
5. Wash your hands more frequently.
Viruses linger everywhere — from door handles to shopping carts. Make it a habit to wash your hands every time you enter your home, in addition to all the other times you should (such as after using the restroom or before a meal). Carry around hand sanitizer to use after you’ve been in a public space.
6. Get vaccinated.
There’s no vaccine for the common cold yet, but there is for the flu, influenza. It won’t protect you 100 percent against the flu, but it does reduce your risk of getting sick.
We can’t always prevent sickness, but these simple measures can definitely reduce your chances of catching something. After all, with so much excitement to enjoy in your retirement the last thing you want is to be held back by a virus.
Looking for more tips on staying healthy and happy for your entire retirement? Learn more in our free resource The Vitality Guide.