Healthy behind the wheel – How to strengthen your immune system in winter

    A healthy immune system is important all year round, but especially in winter you should give your body’s defences an extra boost. Many people now suffer from colds, and the viruses have an easy time with your mucous membranes dried out by the warm air from the heating. We have put together a few simple tips to help you strengthen your immune system.

    Take vitamins, minerals and plant substances

    In fact, you’ve known for a long time what a healthy and balanced diet looks like for someone with your job. In winter, however, it is even more important that you add as much fruit and vegetables as possible to your diet (preferably fresh). Vitamins A, C, D and E stimulate the formation of killer cells that act against pathogens and boost their activity. An apple a day is always a good choice, and otherwise you can snack on carrots or peppers and order meals with seasonal vegetables. Iron from red meat, selenium from oat flakes and zinc from fish have a similar effect, and the numerous secondary plant substances support your immune system. But this does not mean that these vitamins and other substances can always prevent infections. However, if you do get sick, the illnesses are far less severe than with an impaired immune system and do not last as long.

    Movement is key

    You will notice yourself that sitting behind the wheel for a long time is not good for you. Unfortunately, this is also felt by your immune system. However, you can strengthen your immune system by doing some sports during breaks or on your days off. Endurance sports are the best, but any form of exercise helps here – apart from competitive sports, that’s too much of a good thing.

    Improve your body’s own thermal regulation

    With a little practice, the human body can adjust well and quickly to sudden changes in temperature, such as when you step out of your warm cab into the ice-cold parking bay in winter. You improve this ability by, for example, going to the sauna as often as possible when you find the time between trips, or by taking alternating hot and cold showers. To do this, alternate hot and cold water, stopping with cold water each time. At first you will probably have to clench your teeth, but you will quickly get used to it. Your body learns to expand or contract your blood vessels as quickly as possible, depending on what is needed. This way the temperature differences on the road in winter don’t affect you as much.

    Avoid alcohol and nicotine

    As a truck driver, you shouldn’t drink alcohol during working hours anyway – that’s good for your immune system. But as a smoker, you can strengthen your immune system by kicking this unhealthy habit. The body regenerates over time and the immune system can concentrate on combatting pathogens.

    Sleep and relaxation are important

    If you are often not well rested and under a lot of stress, your immune system will suffer. Therefore, you can strengthen your immune system by sleeping as regularly and sufficiently as possible and actively doing something for your relaxation during stressful phases. In some cases, conscious breathing can help as a first-aid measure, but at the latest during your breaks you should take a walk or meditate briefly.

    Kissing, closeness, laughter, friendship

    Did you know that the more time you spend with your loved ones, the better your immune system will be? Pleasant company and laughter with friends are good for you on many levels, and for other ways you should get your loved one involved. Kissing, pampering and massages can also boost the immune system. Therefore you should always try to focus your time at home on living healthily – which can also be fun!

    Off into the woods!

    Sounds funny, but it’s true. A walk in the woods is good for both your body and your mind. The ever-stressed-out Japanese have found out that after only 15 minutes in the forest the level of stress hormone in the body has decreased and the number of killer cells has risen. Accordingly, a short break in the forest can boost your immune system. Apart from that, you get a little exercise, and the air is good too. On free weekends you can extend this therapy.

    Summary: You can strengthen your immune system in different ways

    It is not only a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and trace elements that supports your immune system. Getting used to temperature changes and regular exercise will also help you. Regular sleep and relaxation contribute to a healthy immune system as well as a positive mood, good company and pampering. Avoiding substances such as alcohol and nicotine contributes significantly to a strong immune system, and a short walk in the woods brings an additional health boost.

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