pizza party

A miserable winter cold can prevent you from doing all the things you love: going out with friends, enjoying the outdoors, getting intimate with that certain someone… Lucky for you, those same activities can actually keep a cold from surfacing in the first place. In fact, there are plenty of ways to ward off sickness that might seem more like plain old fun. Here are a few.

Hang Out with Friends

Boss not giving you enough social time? Tell her you’ll have less sick days if she lets you take long lunches with friends. According to a study at the University of Pittsburgh, people who have strong friendships and family relationships are less likely to catch a cold — even when they’re directly exposed to a virus. The Journal of the American Medical Association also reported that people with diverse social networks catch fewer colds than loners. So go on and have a little fun. It won’t kill you.

Dance and Play

The more active you are, the stronger your body is — even at fighting germs. If you’re moderately active (45 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week), says professor David Nieman of Appalachian State University, you cut your chances of catching a cold in half. Pair that with social activities like dancing or playing team sports, and you add the benefit of socializing too. You’ll never be sick again.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

White button mushrooms (the kind you find on pizza, hint hint) contain antiviral compounds that can strengthen your immune system. Tomatoes are chock full of potassium, lycopene and vitamins A and C. Onions and garlic have immune-system boosting phytochemicals, and beans and tofu have helpful isoflavones. Better yet, regular drinking (just one or two drinks, of course) has been associated with fewer colds. So enjoy a bowl of chili or a mushroom pizza, pair it with a glass of red wine, and consider it an investment in your future. Worst case scenario: You might need to dance away a few calories later.

Make Out

A study at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who reported having sex once or twice a week had more immunoglobulin A, an antigen that helps prevent colds. Let that information guide your actions, but please, don’t catch anything worse than a cold virus.

There’s more! Read additional ways to be fabulous and sniffle-free at Rodale.

image: missmeng