CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – With winter approaching many people are bracing for a difficult couple of months when it comes to staying healthy. COVID-19 combined with all the other illnesses we normally associate with this time of year like colds, flu, and strep could make it difficult for people to maintain their health.
Most people know that doctors recommend getting your flu shot, washing your hands and practice social distancing. But there are also some things you can do every day to get your body ready to fight the health dangers that could be lurking around you.
Eating a healthy breakfast every morning can give your body the boost it needs to fight off common winter time illnesses. Avoiding white sugar, soda and processed foods and focusing on the right things instead.
“We recommend at least 3 to 4 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day,” explained Dr. Pavithra Indramohan, assistant professor of medicine and geriatrics. “Incorporating all of this into your diet and having a balanced meal and having enough fat, protein and carbs is essential.”
She said yogurt can boost your immune system too.
Doctors also recommend incorporating fitness into your daily routine.
At the YMCA in Charleston they are taking precautions but still hosting weekly classes including some activities just for seniors.
“‘Silver Sneakers’ is a supplement of some Medicare plans and so they can come and take those classes for free here at our facility and utilize everything that we have to offer,” said Sarah Bolyard, YMCA Kanawha Valley.
Doctors say a brisk walk or other form of exercise could kick your immune system into action during and up to 3 hours after a workout.
“There is a lot of strength training, balance, there is a lot of cardio involved as well we have water aerobics classes for our seniors and then our normal just cardio workouts and the weights and things like that,” Bolyard said.
Right now many seniors are feeling stress and anxiety because of isolation. Classes at the YMCA are operating at half capacity with safety protocols in place so that seniors can still connect.
“I think having a place to go is important for everyone especially our seniors,” Bolyard said. “Having that camaraderie not only helps their physical health but also their mental health.”
If you can’t get out Dr. Indramohansome said some other things you can do to cut stress and combat feelings of isolation include:
*listen to music
*do puzzles or crosswords
*read a book
*watch a movie
*donate to a charity or help a neighbor
*do an indoor project like cleaning out a closet
“Doing hobbies, engaging in activities that make them happy all of these things are very important to boost their immune system,” Dr. Indramohansome said.
It is also a good idea to make sure you are getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night and cutting down on screen time right before bed.