You probably know at least one person who always manages to stay healthy, even when everyone around them is coughing, sneezing, and feeling miserable. Annoying, right?
So what’s their secret? We asked eight super-healthy people to reveal how they dodge colds and other common ailments. Read on and steal their tricks.
1. Supplement With C
The scientific evidence that vitamin C improves immunity has been mixed. But health fiend Sam Jernigan swears by it.
“Every time I start to feel something coming on, I take 2,000 units of vitamin C up to four times a day and it just knocks whatever bug right out of me,” he says. “I do the same thing anytime I encounter someone else who’s sick. I haven’t had more than a few sniffles in 15 years.”
2. Sleep It Off
Slumber lover Amelia Narcisi logs 8-10 hours of sleep every night to keep her immune system strong. Science backs her up: research shows that people who sleep only 5-6 hours a night have a 30 per cent chance of catching a cold when exposed to the virus, but those who get more than seven hours reduce their risk to 17 percent.
3. Strengthen Your Mental Resolve
Talk about mind over matter: “When people around me complain about how sick they get at specific times of the year, I say that I rarely get sick – and I don’t. It’s the power of belief,” says nurse Elisha Lowe.
4. Get a Handle On Stress
Stress has been proven to weaken your immune system, yet it’s impossible to avoid. So your goal should be to manage stress in a healthy way, says Kathy Gruver, author of The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.
“I work hard on controlling my responses to stressors through dancing, daily meditation, visualisation and affirmations,” Gruver says.
5. Stay Squeaky Clean
“I wash my hands all the time and open doors and touch elevator buttons with a clean tissue whenever possible,” says hospital worker Dan Collins.
“When I return to my desk, I immediately grab my supply of antibacterial hand wipes,” he says. “And whenever my eyes itch, I never use the tip of my finger to scratch unless I can sanitise my finger first; instead, I use my knuckle or the back of my hand, as these areas have had less contact with germs than my fingertips.”
Collins also holds his breath “for a good 15 seconds” if he walks by someone who sneezes, and takes zinc at the first sign that a cold is trying to take hold – a habit that research supports.
6. Be a Gym Rat
Regular exercise strengthens your immune system and makes you less likely to catch upper respiratory infections, according to a study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.
“My husband and I work out at least three times a week, and we’ve been working with a personal trainer for a number of years,” says fitness enthusiast Julie Michener. “I think that’s why I don’t get sick even when everyone else in my office does.”
“When I commuted to work and used public transport, I was always getting sick, probably because I was so run-down and also surrounded by germs as I moved from a cramped train to the subway,” says seasoned commuter Christina Halper Gorini. “Since finding a new job that lets me work from home, I’m almost never sick.”
8. Know When to Power Down
“I haven’t had a cold in probably 15 years, but I’m a huge believer in nipping illness in the bud,” says sickness dodger Ken Montgomery.
“If I suspect that something might be coming on, I won’t work late, I won’t go to the gym and I’ll make sure I get more sleep,” he says. “All it takes is one day and I’m back to normal. I think most people have this ‘I’ll fight through it’ mentality, and all that does is exacerbate it.”