Athletes Get Sick Too
Training Your Body to Kill Cold and Flu Microbes
We have arrived in the season when our exposure to powerful microbes that cause cold and flu increases and our ability to fight off infection decreases. Consider the holiday party. We tend to eat more unhealthy foods and imbibe tasty drinks that reduce immunity. We do this while we gather inside where we can share our viruses with a handshake, hug, kiss, cough or sneeze. I like parties too but this is the perfect storm!
You may or may not know that you can decrease your risk of infection from colds and flu with exercise. Nobody will argue against the importance of regular physical exercise to maintain health. But aside from just keeping weight off and maintaining cardiovascular health, regular workouts also help maintain strong immune function. Recent research shows a 20-50% reduction in sick days with daily moderate exercise. That’s better than most medications and supplements!
However, as with most good news there is a flip-side to ponder when working out in the colder months.
According to Dr. David Nieman, professor and renowned health immunology researcher of Appalachian State U., intense long workouts (90 minutes or more) especially ones that are aerobic such as running or triathlons cause us to release more cortisol and adrenaline. Often referred to as stress hormones, these hormones reduce our immunity for up to 72 hours after the workout or race.
Combine that with increased exposure to cold and flu bugs via contact with well-meaning party goers and well… you have a sick athlete.
Things to Consider to Avoid the Flu and Colds:
- Reserve your more challenging training and races to the warmer months. Keep up the regularity and frequency of your program but don’t push your distance or speed quite as hard in winter.
- Do a little pre party pep talk about eating less sugar and alcohol (remember the perfect storm scenario).
- There are also some very effective supplements available that you can use regularly or just before travel and holiday gatherings. I’ve had great results with Immucore from Metagenics. I always keep in in stock so contact me if you want to try it.
Contact Michael Julien at (858) 216-4419 or firstname.lastname@example.org