The winter months are notorious for being the cold and flu season. But, despite old wives tales to the contrary, it is not cold air that gives us colds, but the warm air and close quarters that most of us spend our winter days in. Germs are always with us, but when we spend a good part of our time out of doors, they are spread throughout a larger area and dissipated to a certain extent. (Although everyone has experienced the infamous “summer cold”.) It is when we are up close and personal, in the restricted, warm quarters of our homes, offices, cars and public transportation, and even the gyms we visit to stay healthy, that we are most exposed to the direct impact of these germs. Time to get out and breathe some fresh air.
Bundle up and Walk
The main reason that we are not out in fresh air that has diluted levels of germs is that it is too cold! (No, duh.) If you have abandoned your daily walk outdoors for sessions on the treadmill, time to rethink this decision. Just try it for a day. If you are prepared for it, any but the most brutally cold days can be comfortable for walking. Just make sure you wear a good heavy knit hat, thermal or ski gloves, a heavy jacket and scarf. In about ten minutes, you will probably be sweating and wondering why everyone said it was so cold out.
We go outside for fun, not just for exercise, so if you have switched your games to the Playstation or the Wii for the winter months, just think about how much fun you had outdoors and use your imagination to take at least some of your fun back outdoors and breathe in that fresh, germless air. Tag football, throwing some hoops in the park or biking are still great fun even in the cold weather. You may have to have some sweatpants on under your gym shorts, but “playing outside” lets you have fun, exercise and less exposure to germs. Hey, you could even go surfing if you had a warmsuit.
Then, of course, there are the activities that are not only fun in the cold weather, but are specifically designed for it. There is nothing more healthy and invigorating than the physically active sports of winter such as skiing, sledding, ice skating and hockey. The equipment and apparel of these sports are designed to keep you warm and comfortable in the coldest of conditions, so you will not even feel the effects of the cold weather.
Breathing cold fresh air, especially during physical exertion, strengthens your entire pulmonary and cardiac system. Instead of trying to fight colds indoors, go where they are not: in the cold, fresh air outdoors.
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