Avoiding the winter bug

One thing that many college students struggle with is maintaining a healthy diet and finding ways to stay active during the colder seasons. While it can prove to be difficult, it is definitely do-able.

One of the most manageable ways to staying healthy in winter is having a positive mindset. Many people may think that they know how to stay healthy during winter however, according to Concordia College nurse Kathy Benson, there are three main ways students can beat the winter bug.

“Keeping yourself hydrated, getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night, and washing your hands frequently are all important factors to staying healthy not only during wintertime, but year-round,” Benson said. “They’re such basic things, we assume people know about them. But sometimes action does not follow knowledge.”

Benson also stresses the importance about getting flu shots, which is something that many students overlook. Benson and nursing students gave 400 flu shots at the start of the academic year, and about 30 remain. Since Concordia is a small community, Benson mentioned that becoming informed about the possibilities of getting sick is very important.

“We should be more aware of potential exposure when we’re all living together like this, both for our own well being and also for living responsibly in community,” Benson said.

Of all the illnesses on campus, Benson confirmed that influenza is one of the most common ones during the winter weather, and should be taken more seriously.

“When there are things available to us to help us maintain our health, we need to take advantage of those things,” Benson said.

Benson said that there is an increase of illnesses around campus around midterms and finals.

“A large part of those illnesses relate to time management, lack of sleep, and how some people really nourish themselves during that time, “Are you relying on caffeine and power drinks to get you through the week?”” Benson asked. “That’s not exactly the way to take care of one’s self.”

Staying active is also a crucial factor to staying healthy during wintertime. One of the ways that senior Tessa Monsrud remains active in winter is by keeping up with activities that she does in the summer.

“Cross-training is really important at all times of the year and it keeps you from getting bored, especially in the wintertime when running outside is less than optimal and you’re forced to run on the treadmill,” Monsrud said. “Strength training, going on the elliptical, and cycling are all great ways to break up the tediousness of running on a treadmill.”

Monsrud also stressed the importance to remember to remain active year-round, not just during wintertime.

“I wouldn’t say it’s more or less important to remain active during winter, rather it’s equally important,” Monsrud said. “Being active and healthy is a continuous process, not one that’s seasonal.”

While motivational quotes may be somewhat cheesy, Monsrud attested that they work. Meditation is another factors that encourages Monsrud.

“Meditation is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever do,” Monsrud commented. “Having that alone quiet time helps you become more spiritually and emotionally healthy. And those two aspects are just as important as being physically healthy.”

For more information, visit the Concordia Kjos Health Center, located between Livedalen and Hoyum.

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