Fitness and workout is on everyone’s minds now with New Year’s resolutions in full swing. In the northern hemisphere, New Year resolutions just happen to coincide with winter – a time when almost everybody seems to have the sniffles. Naturally exercise is associated with good health and wellbeing, but is it possible your exercise or training program might actually increase your odds of getting sick?
This article briefly describes the immune system, its response to exercise and provides some helpful suggestions on the best way best to prevent getting sick if you exercise regularly. What is the immune system? Unlike our cardio-respiratory or digestive systems that are composed of particular body parts physically connected together, the immune system is a varied group of cells from the blood and other cells connected together with ingenious biochemical messengers.
The workhorses of the immune system are cells called leukocytes or white blood cells. When the immune system is functioning efficiently, the leukocytes identify viruses and bacteria that enter the body and destroy them before they could lead to damage and make you ill. How does exercise affect the immune system?
Which is quite recreational exercise and physical fitness improvement programs might actually boost immune levels and increase leukocyte activity. So in the event that you exercise state 3 -5 days per week and allow for adequate rest and recovery between sessions, you’ll have increased immune levels on your”couch potato” counterparts. When exercise becomes habitual and training workloads become heavier however, there’s an increased risk for what’s known as exercise induced immunosuppression (EII) or a decline in immunity levels.
Repeated bouts of illness such as colds and influenza might be an indication of overreaching or overtraining where the quantity (amount) and/or level of the exercise is too large. It’s believed that extreme exercise and high volumes of training which don’t allow for sufficient recovery and remainder include accumulative “stress” on the body and the immune system. As not getting enough sleep at night negatively impacts your immunity, so does surplus exercise stress and fatigue. How do I avoid getting sick if I exercise regularly? The best way to guarantee the integrity of your immune system is to be certain that you get enough rest and recover sufficiently from each of your workout sessions.
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If you’re a competitive athlete or if you’re training for an event you might want to make certain that your training plan is periodized – that’s the exercise intensity and quantity are carefully matched to guarantee performance success. Glutamine is an amino acid (building blocks of protein) that is regarded as a main energy source for leukocytes. Studies indicate that blood glutamine levels drop during exercise and during the post exercise recovery procedure. During exercise glutamine is used as a power source (leukocytes, kidney cells) and during recovery it’s required to repair damaged tissue and restore blood sugar levels.
By supplementing your diet with extra glutamine right after a workout session you may help to keep blood glutamine levels, ensuring connective and muscle tissue repair, sufficient recovery and above all, immune system integrity. A multi-vitamin that provides 100 percent of the RDA for antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A, E and C will also help maintain your immune levels. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals generated during exercise. Free radicals are products of energy metabolism which tax the immune system and lead to oxidation of tissue and ailments like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Oxidative stress is very high in athletes and avid exercisers due to the greater use of the aerobic metabolism system. Multi-vitamin supplementation has been shown to boost the action of certain leukocytes – particularly a particular type called neutrophils. Ingesting carbohydrate both during and after exercise will also help maintain your immune levels and lets you recover faster too. The effect of carbohydrates on immunity is indirect as they have a “protein sparing” effect, which ensures that glutamine levels don’t fall, leaving leukocytes starved for energy.