Staying healthy in winter

Staying healthy in winter
Staying healthy in winterStay active through the cold winter months? Absolutely!

Exercising in fresh air boosts your immune system

We’re all familiar with the situation – it’s cold, wet, gray and miserable outside. When the weather is nasty, nobody really wants to set foot outdoors. Who wouldn’t rather cosy up on the couch at home? And yet getting enough exercise in the fresh air is especially important during the cold days of winter.

Whether you like going for walks, hiking in the countryside, jogging, skiing, tobogganing, building snowmen with the family, having a snowball fight or even just wandering around the local Christmas market – there is any number of ways to clear your head and get yourself into a good frame of mind. A bit of activity also keeps you fit, boosts your health and strengthens your body’s defenses.

All the same, there are a few things to bear in mind if you want to avoid catching a cold when you’re out and about in low temperatures. Here are a few tips from our vital360° occupational health management program:

The right clothing really counts:

  • Opt for functional clothing that will keep you dry and warm and won’t trap moisture against your skin. Make sure you’re kitted out with gloves, hat, scarf, winter boots and, if necessary, long underwear or leggings and you will stop your body losing heat too rapidly.
  • Dress like an onion – follow the layering principle! Air trapped between layers of clothing will help keep the cold out.
  • Remember that the days are shorter in winter and that darkness can fall surprisingly fast. Reflective strips and bright clothing should help keep you safe.

Don’t forget to warm up properly before you start your sporting activity:

  • Many people don’t realize that, during the cold season, you should spend about 20 percent of your activity time warming up. This will give your body the time it needs to adjust to the lower temperatures.
  • Build up the intensity of your work-out slowly. Your muscles and joints need longer to get up to their ideal working temperature in winter.

Make sure you breathe properly:

  • Breathing through your nose offers the best protection from infections and dry coughs. As air is drawn in through the nasal passages it is warmed and filtered on its way to the lungs.
  • In extremely cold temperatures below -10°C it is advisable to cover your face with a scarf or fabric as extra protection for your airway.
The advice from our vital360° occupational health management program:

Being active in the fresh air helps boost your immune system and ward off colds.

More health tips for wintertime from the occupational health management program at SEW-EURODRIVE

Staying safe in winter

Shorter days and poor visibility due to fog, rain or snow mean that road users have to take special care. The following advice will help you stay safe when out and about during the cold days of winter.

  • Check your car, motorcycle or bicycle in plenty of time, making sure it is in full working order and well equipped for winter on the roads. If you ride a bicycle, it’s particularly important to check its lights, reflectors and gear and brake cables. If you drive a car, you should ideally already have your winter tires fitted. Don’t forget about your lights, windshield washer system and making sure you have enough antifreeze. Before setting off, it’s essential to make sure you have a clear view in all directions.
  • If you’re traveling on foot or by bicycle, make sure you wear bright clothing, ideally with reflective elements.
  • When driving from place to place, it’s safer to have your low-beam headlights on, even during the day.
  • However, you should be more cautious about using your fog lights – after all, you certainly wouldn’t want to be dazzled by other road users. For example, drivers are permitted to use fog lights only when it is foggy and visibility is restricted to less than 50 meters.
  • During winter, it is particularly important for all road users to be extra cautious and considerate. Adjusting your speed to the road conditions and keeping an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front will help you stay safe.
  • Before you set off, why not get yourself ready with a couple of exercises? Doing some alternating knee lifts and arm rotations while standing up will get your blood pumping, fend off fatigue and boost your attentiveness in road traffic.

Tips to avoid dry air from heating systems

When warm heated air dries out the mucous membrane, you become more susceptible to colds. Here are a few tricks you can use to help stop heating systems drying out the air too much at home and at work.

  • At home, dry your clothes indoors on laundry racks, or leave the bathroom door open after showering. Besides introducing a little humidity into the indoor climate, it also smells pretty good!
  • Houseplants such as ferns and bamboo palms boost humidity and are also decorative. It’s best to arrange them in small groups and spray the leaves with water every now and again.
  • As an alternative to electric humidifiers, you can place a bowl containing some water or a damp towel on a radiator. You should change the water or towel regularly to stop germs forming.
  • Air your room or office for around five minutes every one to two hours to get more oxygen inside and stop mold forming.
  • If you suffer from dry skin when the temperatures drop, using skin lotions and creams that contain urea is a very good idea. Sugar-free chewing gum and candy also help soothe a dry throat.
  • In general, room temperature should be between 16 and 20°C, with humidity ideally at 35 to 55%.
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Prevention is everything!

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