HealthyWinter_Infographic_v2-min 

Cold and flu season is here. No one wants to spend the winter curled up under a blanket, sipping chicken soup while tissues pile up next to them. Instead of sniffling, sneezing and feeling sluggish all season long, adopt these five stay-healthy strategies.

Amp up your social life

Going to the movies with a friend or catching up over coffee could have a positive impact on your health. In one study, researchers monitored participants who were exposed to cold and flu viruses and found that those with the most social support had the lowest rates of infection. Hugging, a form of social support, also helped prevent people from getting sick. Make plans to spend social time with loved ones this winter and reap the health benefits.

Schedule a massage

A massage is more than just an indulgence. This form of hands-on therapy also offers significant immune-boosting benefits. A single session of Swedish massage can increase the number of white blood cells and decrease the stress hormone cortisol, which helps ward off infection. Even better: The more massages you get, the greater the immune-boosting benefits.

Roll out the yoga mat

If you want to stave off colds, downward dog and warrior pose could help. Yoga has been shown to reduce inflammation blood markers. Inflammation is a common condition, one that can cause a variety of diseases.

Catch some zzz’s

There are strong connections between sleep and good health. When you drift into dreamland, your body works hard to fight off infectious diseases. In fact, those who slept fewer than seven hours per night were three times more likely to come down with a cold than those who sleep eight or more hours.

Consult a Medical Provider

Talk with your medical provider on way to help stay healthy this winter season.

Don’t let a cold or the flu keep you from all of your favorite winter activities. Prioritize staying healthy and spend the coming months making snowmen, sledding, skiing or just drinking hot cocoa in front of the fire.