We are heading into the winter months, and for many of us, that means snow, training indoors, flu season, and busy wrestling schedules! It's important to stay on top of your recovery routine during these months. Your body is working hard preparing for a heavy competition schedule, and at the same time fighting potential bugs that may come along! Here are the 6 habits you should adopt this winter:
Arm yourself with knowledge to prevent illness
Before we dive in, we need to dispel the myth about winter time and the flu: you can't get sick simply from the cold weather. The flu is a virus, passed along from person to person. All those times you've heard people say they got sick due to wear wet clothes in the cold? Not true. They most likely already had the virus in their system. Now that you know the truth, wash your hands often, especially when sharing work out equipment or wrestling teammates!
Increase the moisture
During the winter, you are often forced inside more often. The dry air from your heater causes dryness in your nasal passages, which makes it easier for cold and flu viruses from others to enter your system. Your body tries to over compensate the dryness by adding more moisture in your nasal passages, which causes those sniffles. Having a humidifier can be an added benefit to helping keep moisture in your nasal passages. Staying hydrated will go hand in hand with helping your body fight viruses. Water helps your body absorb nutrients and being hydrated helps with proper cell and organ function. So start lugging around that gallon jug of water!
Proper layers for outdoor training
When training outdoors, make sure you aren't wearing baggy sweats (often a wrestler's first choice when running outside). You should be dressing as if it were 10* warmer or else you will most likely overheat and struggle to finish your workout. Layers of long sleeves, vests and lighter sweaters are best. Dry-fit material for moisture wicking to help remain comfortable and dry in the cold is beneficial. If we are training outside, its often earlier in the morning or later at night. With the days having the least amount of sunlight during the year, you will most likely run into training with little sun light. Take the extra precautions and make sure cars can see you by having proper reflectors on your clothing.
Increase vitamin D
When you're forced inside due to weather and the sun is hidden behind a winter gloom, you're most likely going to have lower amounts of vitamin D. Why is vitamin D so important? Your body needs this vitamin to absorb calcium into your bones, which helps maintain bone density. This is critically important for wrestlers, as we need high bone density to support the movements required by our muscles and prevent injuries. Studies have also shown that vitamin D helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. With the stress that can come from training and a busy competition schedule, vitamin D will be a great addition to balancing a healthy body.
Never leave a practice in sweaty clothing
Though it's a myth that sweaty clothing in the cold can make you sick, if you have already caught the virus, this wont help your symptoms. For comfort (and for proper hygiene), bring extra clothes to change into after practice so if you are feeling the beginnings of a cold, you at least don't make yourself feel more miserable.
Jump in the sauna
There are many positive benefits to saunas. Utlitizing a sauna more often can actually help reduce flu and cold symptoms, and can also reduce the amount of viruses you actually contract. Some say its due to the increase of white blood cells in your system, others simply can't explain it. Either way, I've always found the benefits of saunaing as reguluar as possible to be more helpfull than harmful (make sure you check with a doctor first before you are sure you can use a sauna!)