Sportspeople with a high training and competition load have an increased risk of developing cold and flu symptoms, as do those of us who are increasing our outdoor exercise right now. Throw in the cold winter temperatures and dry air and you’ve got the perfect storm for becoming sick.
But, if you want to avoid the winter blues, we’ve got 6 Tips for Staying Healthy in Winter and keeping yourself ahead of the competition!
1 – Get in Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Adding a variety of different fruits and vegetables to your diet will ensure that you are getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for a healthy immune system.
Oranges, strawberries and kiwifruits are all delicious seasonal options which can be added to your breakfast or enjoyed as an on-the-go snack.
Winter also brings with it a long list of seasonal vegetables and these often make great soups and stews. Load up a soup with vegetables and this will ensure you are packing in more than enough vegetables to help keep you healthy.
Tip: Different vitamins are often different colours, so eating a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and veg ensures that you are getting the important vitamins and minerals that you need!
2 – Fuel Well for Training and Competition
Athletes with a heavy training load are more at risk of developing cold and flu symptoms including a sore throat and runny nose, this is due to the impact heavy training has on suppressing the immune system.
Incorrect fuelling and training whilst fasted can potentially worsen this problem and put you at a greater risk.
Depending on your training habits and schedule, a carbohydrate based snack before training may be necessary to make sure that you have plenty of energy to complete your session and perform at your best.
Some of our favourite carbohydrate snack suggestions for pre-training include:
- A banana or piece of fruit
- Toast with honey
- Crumpets with jam
- Baked beans on toast
- Sports drink or juice
Working with a Sports Dietitian to optimise your training diet will help to ensure that you are fueling correctly for training, competition and recovery.
3 – Make Sure You Have Plenty of Protein in Your Diet
Protein is one of the main building blocks of the immune system, so it’s important to make sure that you are getting enough.
It’s recommended that you include around 20g of protein in meals throughout the day – this is often easy at dinner and lunch, but regularly missed in breakfast and snacks.
Protein is found primarily in meat (including red meat, chicken and fish) and meat alternative foods (such as tofu, legumes and nuts), another good source is dairy based foods.
Some of our favourite protein packed snacks include:
- High protein yoghurt
- Cheese and crackers
- Roasted fava beans
- Mixed nuts
4 – Avoid Binge Drinking Alcohol
Drinking large amounts of alcohol has been shown to suppress the immune system and make you more susceptible to infection.
The current alcohol guidelines recommend no more than 10 standard drinks per week and 4 standard drinks on any one day for both men and women. Children under the age of 18 should not drink alcohol.
5 – Avoid Crash Diets for Weight Loss
Winter tends to be peak time for weight loss and gym challenges.
Strict meal plans, crash diets and restrictive eating can often lead to diets that are deficient in nutrients and this can wreak havoc on your immune health.
It is important to ensure that your diet contains all the necessary macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) and micronutrients for good health. You also need to ensure that your exercise and training plan is sustainable and suits your unique needs.
Our team at Precision Athletica is always happy to work with you to find the perfect exercise and nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle.
6 – Get Outdoors
Our body makes over 80% of our Vitamin D with the help of sunlight, with only 20% coming from our diet.
Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system, so that the body can fight infection.
In winter, we often rug up and hide from the cold indoors, however this limits the amount of sun that we see – so Vitamin D deficiency is much more common in winter-time. If you are worried that you might be deficient, speak to your doctor about organising a blood test.
This post was written by Precision Physio Dietitian Maddy Eager.
At Precision Physio we know the importance of Nutrition and for that reason we have our own in house Dietitian’s. If you would like more information, or feel you might benefit from a session with with a Dietitian, you can either come into our clinic, or work with us online.
How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Physio for Help?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Customer Support Centre: 02 8607 4000
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help! Online consultations would be especially effective for Nutrition and Diet based session.
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.