Seasonal changes always bring new adventures, new momentum, and a resurgence of old viruses like the flu. The flu is an easily contractible virus that can causes infections and is easily passed around all year long. There are ways to help prevent getting sick or at least reduce the side effects if you happen to contract the flu which puts a damper in your fun plans. Let’s discuss easy ways to prevent getting the flu, so you can maximize your fun and enjoy the season!
Where Does the Flu Come From?
But first, where does the flu come from? Influenza, or “the flu”, is a respiratory infectious disease that is caused by the influenza viruses. The flu is passed by an infected person sneezing, coughing, or talking nearby. The droplets from the infected person go through the air and land directly on you or other surfaces that you may touch, and then you touch your face infecting yourself.
Flu symptoms may be mild to severe depending on many factors. Symptoms of the flu may include sore throat, a consistent, dry cough, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, eye pain, shortness of breath, and most commonly a fever. There is also a “stomach flu” which is an intestinal infection that causes similar symptoms plus cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. The stomach flu is caused by different types of germs that get into your digestive system usually through consuming contaminated water or food.
How to Reduce Your Chance of Catching the Flu
That all sounds terrible. So how can you reduce your chance of getting the flu? Some common ways to prevent the spread of the flu, or many infections, is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm water and soap, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, stop touching your face, and cover a cough or a sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
Don’t eat old, expired or improperly prepared foods. Other ways you can avoid catching the flu is by cleaning surfaces often, especially those that are frequently touched, and avoiding crowds or social distancing. If you know someone with suspected symptoms, maybe delay your plans for a week until they’ve felt better for a few days.
Nourishing your body with a healthy, balanced diet is a long-term immunity boost to help you to keep from catching the flu. By providing your body fuel to complete tasks, your body is able to accomplish more, such as that weekend bike ride you’ve been looking forward to all week on your new e-bike. Balanced diets provide the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates your entire system needs to function. When the body is functioning in an optimal way, that means your immune system is able to work hard to fight off infections.
How to Reduce Flu Symptoms If You Catch It
The best way to reduce your symptoms once you catch the flu would be to boost your immune system in any way you can. Exercising is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and one of the most fun ways to exercise is by riding your e-bike! On top of exercise boosting your mood through releasing “happy hormones” like dopamine, exercising with moderate intensity will boost your immunity in a multitude of ways.
Research published in 2019 showed a positive correlation between exercise to cellular immunity. What does this mean? Moderate intensity exercise (such as riding your e-bike) for 60 minutes increases the circulation of immune cells in your body so they can better prepare, detect and protect against infected cells.
Exercise makes you tired which should help you to sleep better. Sleep quality is vital when it comes to your immune system since the lack of sleep could reduce your natural antibodies that fight diseases like influenza that cause “the flu”. Exercise will also decrease stress by slowing the release of stress hormones, like cortisol, that negatively impact your mind and body.
Exercise Tips and Tricks
The best exercise is the one that you do. It needs to be fun and natural to keep you coming back for more. Here are some tips you don’t want to forget while you’re gearing up on your Electric Mountain Bike!
1. Choose the right clothing for the day. Depending on where you live, you might experience chilly mornings that get hot once the sun comes up so were layers. Layers allow you to stay warm when it’s chilly but remove or unzip, so you don’t overheat. Having a raised body temperature may fight off infection, but overheating can cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion which may put you in the hospital.
2. Exercising outdoors combines many prevention measures from getting the flu such as exercising, avoiding crowds, and keeping you from touching your face. It also gets you out of your house to enjoy the natural world around you.
3. Take the whole family to build a strong bond and instill an active trait from a young age. Just strap your kid into their baby bike seat and get cruising!
4. Find something fun! Whether it is Pilates, yoga, boxing, Zumba, or some e-bike exercise, just find something you enjoy doing. If you have low mobility, bad knees, or back, cruise on your all terrain e-bike. You can finish that 10-mile loop without as much strain on your knees as a non-motorized bike.
5. Wear a bike helmet. Always wear a helmet when you’re riding your e-bike. You may feel steady and think nothing bad will happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your brain makes the rest of your body function, so you want to protect it.
Getting sick with the flu would put a major damper in your fun weekend plans. So, take a few extra measures to help prevent you from getting sick like washing your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap, not touching your face, eat balanced meals, and starting moving in any form of exercise you find most fun. Get your body moving today by walking for 30 minutes, trying out a class, or escaping your everyday routine with the e-bike on your favorite trails.