Hug it Out: Mind-Body Tips to Prevent Colds and Flus Naturally

Nothing stands more in the way of achieving goals than getting sick. With arrival of cold and flu season, it's even more important to take natural steps to boost your immune system and reduce your chances of getting the flu or colds. Each of these tips not only improves your health, but also makes you feel great and is supported by research. 

8 Mind and Body Tips to Avoid the Cold or Flu:

1. Give and receive hugs daily.

2. Sit by the fireplace and relax in the evening.

3. Do moderate exercise daily, like a 30-minute brisk walk.

4. Sleep at least 7.5 hours a night consistently.

5. Meditate daily.

6. Practice deep breathing exercises, at least 10 minutes a day.

7. Expose your skin to direct sunlight if possible, at least 10 minutes a day.

8. Enjoy sauna baths of at least two 15-minute sessions weekly or more.


In this video, I discuss these tips in more detail. Use these tips for natural methods to prevent colds and flu. This is first in a How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season playlist:

 
 

If adding 30 minutes of regular moderate exercise is one of your goals and you'd like to boost it, use the Goal Setting For Success Workbook to help you plan.  Download your free copy here. 

Tell me in comments below which of the tips listed above works for you.  If these tips helped you please LIKE below and SHARE with a friend.


For more details, read below and check links to research studies. Research geeks like me will love it!

1. Hugs: Give and receive hugs and loving support from your family and friends. Social support is critical to our well-being.

In this 2016 study, Carnegie Mellon University researchers exposed a group of healthy individuals to germs and measured hugs. Data analysis showed that those who received more hugs were less likely to get sick and if they got sick, they had less severe symptoms.

2. Sit by Fireplace: Sit by the fireplace in the evening and relax.

 In this 2012 study conducted by Dr. Christopher Lynn at University of Alabama, researchers found that sitting by a fire stimulated relaxation and lower blood pressure. More research is ongoing.

3. Moderate Exercise: Exercise moderately and regularly—not too intense as that breaks down the body, but consistent exercise like a brisk daily walk where you break a sweat and get your blood circulating.

A 2012 study by University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin, researchers found that among 154 adults in the study, the 47 subjects in the exercise group experienced fewer colds and flu then the 51 in the control group. Exercise included brisk walking, jogging or indoor cycling for 45 minutes a day. In another study, middle-aged and older women who exercised 5-days a week and were followed for one year had significantly fewer colds than a similar group of women who did once weekly stretching. Thirty minutes of walking boosts the immune system.  More large scale studies are needed, but exercise, in any event, is beneficial.

4. Consistent Sleep: Sleep at least 7.5 hours each night or more depending on what you find most refreshing. This 2009 study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers showed that poor sleep quality and short sleep duration was associated with lower resistance to illness.

5. Mindful Meditation: Meditate daily if only for a few minutes to reduce cortisol levels and boost your immune system. Mindfulness is associated with a 50% reduction in colds and flus. In the exercise study above, researchers also included a 51 member meditation group. These individuals practiced 45-minutes daily at home and participated in a 2.5 hour weekly group session. They experienced an equivalent reduction in colds and flus with the exercise group; meditation group members had a 76% lower rate of colds and flus, compared with the control group.

6. Deep Breathing: Breathe deeply with fresh air, especially in the forest.

Ten-minute daily sessions of deep paced breathing (5-seconds in and 5-seconds out) is linked with lower blood pressure and better mood. In this 2005 study, only 30-seconds of deep breathing reduced blood pressure.

A 2016 study of a 20-minute yogic breathing daily session by Medical University of South Carolina researchers, showed indications of stronger immune system functioning. In a 2014 study that included meditation, deep breathing exercises and exposure to cold, individuals exposed to the flu virus were less likely to get the flu than those who had not done the exercises and if they became sick, experienced less severe symptoms. Studies range regarding length of a deep breath (10-seconds, 12-seconds) and length of practice (10, 20, 30 minutes daily), so try at least 10-minutes daily and increase practice if possible.

7. Sun Exposure: Seek sun and natural light exposure. As little as 10 minutes per day, boosts your mood and vitamin d3 levels. (Wow! Looks like you can take your deep breathing exercises outdoors and get a double booster.)

8. Sauna Bathing: Enjoy sauna bathing. At least 30 mins per week—more is better. Thirty minutes can be accomplished in two 15-minute rounds with a rest in between. Studies show an association between sauna bathing and reduced incidence of common colds, but more research is needed. Other studies show that sauna bathing improves circulation and cardiovascular system function and can boost immune system response.


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