Athletes who train harder than their less active peers occasionally catch more colds and more sick days off as well. Many of these same athletes have upper respiratory infections which are usually following such competitions as marathons or other types of tournaments that require these athletes to be involved in extreme activities.
The cause for athletes to be so prone to such illnesses is due to excessive exercise, accompanied with improper nutrition, and a lifestyle that becomes unbalanced. This leads to a deficit in their energy levels that leaves the immune system run down and low performances when their bodies are not functioning in the realm they should.
In order for a person not to have so many sick days due to over exertion, it’s best to have a balance in your daily exercise routines. Those who have moderate amounts of exercise will improve, and your immune system research has shown. People who exercise regularly have few sick days and their immune systems perform better than those who do not exercise or over exercise in a short time.
As with anything else in life, moderation is the key to exercise. If you are an athlete and can’t exercise in moderation, you will need to add some extra precautions into your exercise and training routines. By taking these precautions, you will keep your immune system at a healthier level and stay at its peak performance. When you keep in mind, the factors that can keep you healthier you will be able to train more effectively without putting your immune system at risk.
Tips for Maintaining Your Immune System
When one exercises in excess, this can cause some negative effects on the immune system. The excessive exercise stimulates the production of stress hormones. The stress hormones are meant to be released in situations that require you to make the decision to fight or flee. When you are in need of making a decision for survival, the nonessential functions, such as the immune system, are put on the back burner.
In order to keep the stress levels and hormones at bay when exercising, you will need to keep your exercising at a level where it isn’t stressful for you at the time. The largest factors that play a role in your exercising becoming stressful are when other areas of your life are stressful, such as relationships, school or work.
Symptoms of Training Overkill
There are many symptoms that are overlooked by athletes and others who are exercise fanatics. These symptoms are declines in th athletic performances, fatigue, depression, sleeping difficulties, elevated resting heart rates, and frequent injuries and illnesses. If you are plagued with any of these symptoms consider training for shorter times, take more rest days, and try cross training.
In the Key of Sleep
Those who are well-rested give their immune systems the chance to respond to the pathogens more so than those who are sleep deprived. Sleep not only will allow your muscles to have to heal after a vigorous workout. Sleep also allows your body to recover from each of your training cycles.
Nix the Germs
Since germs are everywhere and often hard to avoid, in the weeks proceeding some competitions avoid large crowds and those whom you know are ill. The most common way to get an infection is from your hands. Wash yours often and thoroughly. Also touching your eyes or nose can give cold germs a one way ticket straight to the mucus membrane areas.
Check Your Diet
Athletes who restrict calories and certain food groups become at risk of nutritional deficiencies and this can compromise your immune systems health. Athletes should pay close attention to the following tips to prevent further health issues.
• Drink plenty of fluids to keep your mucus membranes hydrated. Also, keeping your body hydrated, help your immune cells actively patrolling your body to fight off infections and colds.
• Your immune cells are made of protein. Athletes that are on high levels of training programs need to have higher protein intakes than others who exercise moderately or not at all. The protein intake for athletes should range from 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight.
• Consuming carbohydrates before and during training and exercise routines will reduce the stress hormones that suppress the immune responses. By keeping glycogen stored up and consuming 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates beverages during extended exercise cycles can help protect the immune system function studies have shown.
Vitamins A, C, B6, B12 and folate, and minerals zinc and iron play important roles in the health of the immune system. However, taking megadoses of minerals and vitamins will not help improve your immune system and can even make you more prone to becoming ill. The upside is that if you are not able to eat as properly as you should, taking multivitamins and mineral supplements that is up to 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance is a good idea.