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Staying Active Can Help You Prevent the Flu…Who Knew?

January 26th, 2012

We’re well into winter now which is, among other things, prime time flu season. The Center for Disease and Control estimates that anywhere between 5% and 20% of US residents get the flu each year, with more than 200,000 people being hospitalized because of it. Fortunately, there are actions you can take prevent the flu.

There’s the obvious answers: wash your hands, cover you mouth when you cough, and get a flu shot. Of course, people involuntarily (or voluntarily) forget to do these things from time to time. Lucky for us, there are even more ways to help prevent the flu. These tips work great even if you ARE part of the 85% who wash their hands (I know only 85%, isn’t that gross!? ) Anyways…

Here at Smooth Fitness we’re all about…well you guessed it…fitness. And when you involve yourself in fitness regularly, it means you’re staying active.  Did you know staying active may help you prevent the flu? That’s right. The key is to not overdo it.

Aerobic exercises like jogging, brisk walking, or cycling (try this recumbent on for size) can improve your immune system, as long as you don’t push too hard. A general rule of thumb is to perform a moderate aerobic exercise for around 30 minutes a day. According to some schools of thought, too much exercise can actually hinder you when it comes to fighting off the flu.

Of course, being active is only part of the equation. Can you guess what the other part is?…Okay I don’t have that much time to wait. EATING HEALTHY! We aren’t introducing ground-breaking material here, folks. These are things that healthy people do regularly.

Try to include a good amount of fruits and veggies into your diet. If vegetables aren’t your thing, make them your thing. Already eating vegetables? Focus your eating habits even more. Look for dark colored/leafed vegetables. Research shows that healthy dark veggies are rich in antioxidants, with lots of Vitamin C (even more than “non-dark” veggies.) Avoiding vegetables because they taste boring? ( I’m ashamed to even think that.) If so, check out this awesome recipe from Runner’s World for great-tasting chili that will help keep you warm AND fight the flu.

That’s it. Short and sweet. All in all, there’s nothing new here. Preventing the flu is all a part of staying healthy and to stay healthy, you have to exercise regularly and eat right. If this is starting to sound like a broken record, stop listening to music and get to work on preventing the flu!

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