How to deal with the winter gym blues..

We all tend to get sick in winter. It’s just one of those things that happen. But how can we stay healthy, when everyone around us seems to be on their deathbed with the flu, or constantly sniffling and sneezing? Being active sure helps! I was reading this fantastic article and found some very interesting facts..

In 2012, for example, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that adults who reported at least five days of exercise per week spent 43 percent fewer days suffering from upper respiratory tract infections than those who were only active one day or less per week. The researchers were not shocked to find that sick individuals who exercised on a regular basis also experienced reduced symptoms. Duh! — right?

You want to listen to your body though..too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!! (Hey, donuts, looking at you)

A study conducted by the Society for General Microbiology made headlines by suggesting that while lighter exercise (such as walking) can keep colds at bay, strenuous exercise (think marathons) can actually increase the likelihood of developing an illness — like a cold or flu — due to immune system depression.

The studies that raise the “too much exercise might be bad for you” alarm primarily have to do with aerobic activity. In fact, there is very little research to suggest that lifting weights suppresses the immune system in those who strength train regularly.

The bottom line: Making strength training a regular part of your routine, if you haven’t already, is imperative to keeping your immune system in high-functioning form and seasonal bugs at bay. And since strength training only once in a while may be counterproductive, try not to fall off the strength-training wagon at any point this winter — or ever, if you can avoid it!

We know that doing a little bit of exercise, or just moving, can help when we’re feeling awful, but we need to take care not to over-do it!

A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology compared the effects of light versus strenuous exercise on the immune system explained the body’s response to “overdoing it” in the following way: endurance athletes and heavy exercisers can become more susceptible to colds and upper respiratory infections because their immune system cells, called Natural Killers (NK), which are responsible for going after the microbes and viruses that invade our bodies and make us sick, don’t react well to stressful endurance activity. NKs love a brisk walk, for example, which causes them to increase in number, but running a marathon can reduce NK numbers in the body, thereby leading to illnesses and potentially serious infections like pneumonia.

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves when we’re feeling rundown? SLEEP!!! (Listening to your body again, blah blah)

Aim to get seven to eight hours per night. To get a better sleep, set a regular bedtime and try to stick to it, then try waking up at the same time every day. Try scheduling morning workouts — if you put your sweat sessions off until the late evening, they can boost your energy levels too much and keep you awake.

Being mindful of your stress levels and getting adequate rest can benefit you in many areas of your life, not just in the gym — and not getting floored by the flu is just one added bonus!

Ok, all things said, do I go workout, or do I hide out in bed and binge watch some Netflix??

“Generally, a good rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are above the neck and there are no body aches or pains, then you’re probably okay to go to the gym,” says Cedric Bryant, PhD, FACSM, chief science officer and fitness expert for the ACE. “If you just have the sniffles or a mild head cold, going to the gym and participating in low- to mild-intensity exercise can actually give you a slight boost and help you feel better. But overall, generalized body aches and pains tend to be more suggestive of the flu, and exercising is not advised in this case.”

If you feel the need to get up and exercise when you’re sick, be mindful of everyone else at the gym, and maybe just keep the workout at home!!

Full article at Oxygenmag.com

Image sourced Copyright: subbotina / 123RF Stock Photo

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