6 ways to boost your immunity this winter season

6 ways to boost your immunity this winter season

As winter sets in, the sound of illness feels like a constant soundtrack in your daily life. The person behind you at the grocery is coughing, and the person at the table next to you has the sniffles. It’s like you can almost hear yourself getting sick. 

No one wants to muddle through the long winter months feeling tired, run-down, and sick all the time. But catching the latest bug can feel nearly inevitable.

And let’s be honest: There’s no foolproof way to avoid getting sick. 

However, there are steps you can take to support your immunity and improve your chances against the common cold or flu.

A healthy lifestyle and immune-boosting therapies like cold water immersion and sauna therapy can help you be proactive about your health and help you stay well during the colder months.

winter sickness

Why we get sick in the winter

Respiratory illnesses such as colds and flus tend to be more prevalent during colder months.  Not only does spending time indoors make it easier to pass germs from person-to-person but the cold, dry winter weather is the ideal environment for bacteria and viruses. 

Colder temperatures

A ground-breaking 2022 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that the air temperature as well as the temperature inside your nose can affect the body’s immune response. Indeed, a decrease of 9 degrees Fahrenheit in the nasal temperature can take out 50 percent of the billions of immune cells and viruses that play a crucial role in combating bacteria.

Drier air

Cold temperatures plus your furnace — it’s winter’s equation for dry air.

When the temperatures begin to drop, the air can no longer “hold” onto humidity. And, the colder it gets, the more likely you are heading to that thermostat to turn on your heating system. But turning up the temperature means a drop in humidity as the furnace needs air to burn  

How does this dry air affect your immunity, though? Dry air can irritate the mucous membranes in the nose and throat, making it easier for viruses to infiltrate the respiratory system. 

Vitamin D

Winter typically brings with it overcast skies and limited outdoor activities. However, the importance of sunlight exposure during this season cannot be overstated, particularly for the production of vitamin D — a key player in supporting immune function. Not only does adequate vitamin D assist in the body's defense against infections, but it also contributes to reducing inflammation.

Surprisingly, about 40 percent of American adults find themselves lacking in vitamin D, as highlighted by diet and nutrition specialist Morgan Chojnacki from UW Medicine.

When your body is deficient in vitamin D, you have a harder time staying healthy and avoiding winter illnesses. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased susceptibility to respiratory infections like the flu and common cold. Without adequate vitamin D, your immune system may struggle to respond robustly to invading pathogens, making you more prone to getting sick.

winter immunity

Winter wellness: Strategies to strengthen your immune system

Building a strong immune system is crucial for staying healthy during the winter season. A healthy lifestyle and practices that reduce stress can support your body's natural defense mechanisms. 

Remember to consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your routine.

Get good sleep

We all know sleep is good for us. But sleep does more than help us feel rested and ready to get through the day. 

But did you know that adequate sleep is crucial to keeping your immune system healthy and ready to fight winter colds?

Research shows that shorter sleep sessions are associated with an increase in symptoms when you have a common cold. In addition, specific elements of the immune system become more active during nightly sleep. But when you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system can’t do what it’s supposed to —  making you more susceptible to infections.

Every person needs a different amount of sleep. However, most adults should aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night to enhance your immunity and overall well-being.

winter immunity

Cold water immersion

Whether it’s a cold shower or plunging into a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub by Master Spas, cold water therapy is the practice of exposing your body to cold water for brief periods.

Getting your hair wet in the winter when it’s cold … on purpose? There’s no way this can help your immunity — at least according to your grandma. However, cold water immersion has been shown to support and strengthen your immune system. 

This practice stimulates and strengthens the immune system. When you purposefully get into cold water, it can activate immune-boosting blood cells, specifically leukocytes. These cells are the ones you want on your side when you are trying to fight off an infection. A study conducted in the Netherlands revealed that individuals who adopted cold showers lasting 30, 60, or 90 seconds over a period of 90 days reported a 29 percent lower rate of work-related sick leave compared to those who did not incorporate cold showers into their routine.

A regular cold immersion routine can help you stay healthy this winter. A Chilly GOAT Cold Tub makes it convenient to incorporate cold water into your routine — no bags of ice required. The powerful 2.1-horsepower chiller keeps the water at your desired temperature, and the water care system keeps it clean and clear. 

Sauna therapy

Sauna therapy offers a contrasting approach to cold water therapy. The heat from saunas induces a temporary fever-like state, which may help stimulate the production of white blood cells and enhance the immune response. 

Additionally, saunas promote relaxation and stress reduction. 

Be sure to stay hydrated and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any underlying health conditions.

winter exercise immunity

Prioritize exercise

Getting in a good workout during the winter comes with its own set of challenges. Not only do you have to motivate yourself to exercise but you have to do it when the weather is less than ideal. Even if you don’t deal with snow, the cooler air and grayer skies can sap your ambition. 

But prioritizing exercise in the winter is important if you want to support your immune system and fight those seasonal bugs. 

Yes, exercise can help you ward off winter colds.

Exercise stimulates the production of antibodies and white blood cells, those germ-fighting cells that play crucial roles in the immune response. Plus, those sessions in the gym improve blood circulation and reduce stress, both of which are important to immunity. Choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, CrossFit, or swimming.  Be consistent and aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

Manage your stress levels

The holiday season, which coincides with winter, can bring additional stress factors. Although, we probably didn’t have to tell you that. 

But that increased stress (or any stress, really) has been linked to a weakened immune response, making you more susceptible to getting sick in the winter.

Persistent stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that, in brief bursts, can enhance immunity by curbing inflammation. However, prolonged exposure to elevated cortisol levels conditions your body to an excess, leading to increased inflammation and potential suppression of your immune system's capacity to combat external threats.

Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or cold water immersion, it’s important to incorporate stress-reducing strategies into your daily routine. It also wouldn’t be such a bad idea to book that pedicure or a dinner date with friends.

humidifier immunity

Use a humidifier

As the winter chill sets in and the air becomes drier, many of us find ourselves reaching for extra layers to stay warm. However, there's more to winter wellness than just bundling up.  Incorporating a humidifier into your winter routine can actually support your immune system.

Winter is a season that brings cold, dry air, which can take a toll on our respiratory health. Dry air not only irritates the respiratory tract but can also compromise the body's natural defenses.  One of the jobs of the mucus lining your nasal passages is to trap pathogens and pollutants, preventing them from causing infections. But in dry conditions, research shows, mucus can lose its moisture, making it easier for germs to make it into the body.

In addition, studies have shown that maintaining indoor humidity levels between 40 percent to 60 percent can significantly reduce the survival of airborne viruses. 

By using a humidifier, you create an environment less conducive to the spread of respiratory infections, ultimately supporting your immune system.

cold water therapy

How to buy a cold therapy tub

Do you want to enjoy the benefits of cold water therapy without buying bag after bag of ice? Having a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT Cold Tub allows you to realize the impact of cold water. Enjoy clean, clear, cold water on demand.  You can click here to find out more about the benefits of incorporating a Michael Phelps Chilly GOAT cold tub into your routine. Start your journey today!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional before implementing any new practices or making changes to your diet or healthcare routine.