Exercising regularly, training, being fit and healthy - are all contributing factors in helping support a healthy and functioning immune system. People who train often as opposed to those who don’t, are inevitably more prone to catching the flu, bacteria and/or viruses, especially during these colder months.
If you are a regular, constant athlete, there will be times of struggle where you will you have to ask yourself the tough question - 'to train or not to train?', 'should I take the day off?' as you are or have become under the weather. From a bodybuilder point of view, this is one of the most fearful situations apart from an injury you will face.
Listen To Your Body
It may sound cliché but, but the best thing you can do when you are feeling run down – listen to your body. If your body does not feel like exercising, then quite simply, don’t push yourself.
In the end, your decision comes down to personal choice. It is worth on considering the severity of your systems. If you are experience mild ones such as a sore throat, runny nose etc. this will not greatly interfere with your workout. The only considerations you may consider would be to lower the intensity and maybe the duration of your workout. However, if you are experiencing or coming down with more serious symptoms such as aches and pains, gastric symptoms etc. you should be RESTING and STAY at home.
Sweat It Out
Another ‘old fashioned’ saying is, when you are sick, you should ‘sweat out your fever’. However, there are some potential factors to take into account if doing so.
- Being in close contact with others and touching gym equipment will most likely be contagious and be spreading nasty germs.
- Physical activity does cause immune comprising stress on the body. If training vigorously it will depress your immune system. If you are sick, it would be wise to consider low strenuous activities. By involving yourself in low intensity, strenuous and impact activities you may recover faster, relieve symptoms, take your mind off feeling icky and have you feeling better than before you started. Sports that are suggested to have immunity boosting properties are Yoga and Tai Chi. Did you know they amazingly reduce the bodies inflammatory response - Get on it!
- When you exercise your respiratory rate will increase. Therefore and obviously, your body will have a higher demand for oxygen. Oxygen is required to pump blood, keep you lungs inhaling and exhaling and allow organs and cells to function. By opening up your airways it is acting as a natural decongestant, this could be clearing out your yucky, blocked airways and actually have you feeling relieved.
- If you feel you are fit and ready to return to your normal gym schedule after have or almost recovering from the flu, be careful on returning with the same or sudden increase in volume and intensity. Upon return, it is highly recommend you build up your routine gradually. You want to incorporate adaptive training in order to not place your body under unnecessary stress. Go easy on yourself; your body has been under enough stress already fighting off your cold. This potentially will create new stress allowing new viruses or bacteria to take hold and having the reverse effect of becoming sick again. If you are having difficulty lifting, the strain may also be increasing the pressure on your sinuses causing further blocking, congestion and discomfort.
Missing A Workout
The best and most important thing you can do is to be honest with yourself - do not push yourself. Be realistic and realise you wont be training at maximum potential or capability. Be aware of your circumstances and limits and know these will be altered. If you miss one workout, this will not kill you! Think about how much time, effort and consistency it has taken you to build yourself up and get where you are… one missed workout will not have you diminishing all your gains.
Prevention through Supplementation
As mentioned getting sick, especially during the colder months is quite unavoidable. Regular exercise, being fit and healthy is one of the best investments you can your you body and best choices you can make to improve general health and wellbeing. However to improve you immunity, minimise your sickness duration and possibly avoid the potential of getting run down there are supplements to assist. Supplements can bring you that peace of mind that you are providing a safeguard to your health. Knowing that, not all nutrition can come from diet and you may be in extra need for specific vitamins and minerals during the colder months.
**If you feeling you are or potentially suffering a serious or chronic illness please consult your GP immediately and discuss when returning or continuing any training program is advisable.
Important immune supplements we stock that could assist you:
During vigorous exercise glutamine is very much depleted. Being the most abundant amino acids in the body it is very important this is replaced. The amino acid plays a vital role in immunity, low glutamine levels in the body have been shown to lower the bodies fighting response for things such as infections and illness.
Your body does not produce EFA, it needs to be taken through diet. It will help in boosting the immune system after training. It will also help with lubrication of joints, heart health and help with mental functioning.
It is a blend of fruit and vegetable to provide body with essential nutrients such as contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients in an easy and convenient powder. Remember this is a ‘supplement’ to your diet, not a full replacement for regular fruits and vegetables you should be consuming in your diet.
It optimises your body for nutrient absorption and utilisation throughout the day. Each serve is packed with anti-oxidants, essential amino acids and vitamins. It acts as a nutritional insurance for your body. Improves general health and digestion