With flu season standing at your doorstep, it’s time to consider how you can keep it out of your house, instead of letting it come in and knock you on your feet. While staying away from sick friends and urging ill coworkers to stay at home can keep you from coming down with this winter sickness, there’s more that you can do to make sure you don’t get stuck in bed, too.

Stay Physically Fit

After examining 12 weeks of data, from over 1,000 adults ranging in age from 18 to 85, researchers found that those who were physically fit may have an edge over those who weren’t when cold season comes around. “The most significant finding was that people who were physically fit and who engaged in exercise five or more days per week were about half as likely to suffer cold symptoms compared to participants who reported less physical activity,” according to WebMD.com.

Not to mention, symptoms dropped by 31% among those who were physically active versus those who weren’t. Though you don’t need to train for a marathon to keep the flu at bay, you should incorporate small bouts of fitness into your schedule during the week and on weekends. Try:

  • Snowshoeing in your backyard or through the woods
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Running or biking during your favorite show at the gym
  • Taking dance classes like Zumba
  • Taking yoga classes with your friend

Stay Nutritionally Fit

Eating the right foods makes a big difference in the way your body handles flu season. Including foods with these vitamins and minerals can help keep you stay sickness -free all winter long.

Red Bell Peppers: They are chock full of vitamin C which is critical to a healthy, flu-fighting body.  This vitamin can also decrease the severity of your symptoms if you do fall ill.

  • Make a stir fry with bell peppers for dinner or mix them in with your scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Mushrooms: High in selenium, these fungi help your white blood cells produce more sickness fighting cytokines.

  • Add sliced mushrooms to your veggie pizza or roast whole portabella heads with cheese and Italian seasoning.

Yogurt: Keep flu-causing germs out of your digestive tract with yogurt, which contains probiotics and prebiotics.

  • Have some for breakfast with fresh sliced strawberries or add it to your sauce for a creamier dish.

Dark Chocolate: Need another reason to eat your daily dose of chocolate? The dark kind supports to growth of t-cells, which help your body fight and defend against infection. Too much can offset the healthy aspects, so stick to a small amount and avoid sugar overload.

  • Have one or two squares at night after dinner or stir some into your coffee for a delicious morning treat.

Stay Mentally Fit

Stress takes a physical toll on your body, bringing your immune system down with it. Though the end of the year can be a stressful time with holidays, end of year paperwork at the office, and more, it’s important to stay positive and keep stress at bay. But that’s not all:

  • Get plenty of sleep, which will keep your body humming along happily.
  • If you’re feeling slightly congested, stop the flu before it starts and sit in a steamy bathroom or sauna. This will help to relieve the congestion.

Staying focused on what your body needs, physically, mentally and nutritionally is key to keeping the flu at bay, or battling symptoms as they come. Include a small amount of fitness in your routine, eat the right foods and stay in a mentally positive place with plenty of sleep and symptom management.