Exercise for a Stronger Immune System
It is now November and the temperatures are fluctuating. This can only mean one thing! People will get sick! Most people understand what it takes to keep a sanitary work and play environment, but many don’t. The tips below will help you in the gym to decrease your chances of catching a bug from those who don’t abide by those rules.
- Wash hands upon arrival to the gym.
- Grab some paper towels and wet them with sanitizer spray or wet wipes.
- Wipe down machines and equipment BEFORE you use them and AFTER you finish your sets. (This includes cardio machines.)
- Wear gloves if you already have a weakened immune system.
- Before you leave the gym, wash your hands thoroughly counting to 20 Mississippi in your head. (Proper hand washing is… Wet hands / add soap / scrub soap into hands, between fingers, and fingernails, rinse with lukewarm – hot water until all soap is gone.)
- If someone goes to shake your hand offer a fist instead (fist bump is the handshake of fall and winter!)
- Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day and add 16 oz of water per extra hour of exercise. This will help to flush & optimize your system.
- Echinacea, Vitamin C, and Zinc : These can decrease the length of a cold once you have it.
- Multi-Vitamin (Capsulated) : You should take this everyday as an insurance policy to make sure you are getting the right vitamins & minerals. (I use Micro Factor from 1st Phorm Daily.)
- Greens Supplement: 2 Scoops of 1st Phorm Opti Green 50 or supplement similar will help you to keep your fruit and vegetable intake high in the winter months, when there isn’t a lot of fresh produce. This will also aid your immune system.
*These are not always supported by science and the research can be confusing but this is what works for me
Regular exercise improves your health, which improves your immune system, and going to the gym exposes you to low levels of germs from other people.
Can I exercise if I’m sick?
I always tell my clients, if your cold is from your neck up, you can generally go to the gym (stuffy nose, headache, or head cold in general). The times you should most definitely avoid the gym include, but are not limited too. A cough with discharge, anything with your lungs or breathing, stomach bug, or a fever of any kind.
I’m Not Sick Now. What are the Ideal Levels of Exercise to Reduce my Risk of Getting Sick?
Sickness can come when the body is stressed (work, family, or even exercise). Maintaining a moderate level of fitness from all 3 components throughout the year will gently boost your immunity now and into your future.
- Muscular Strength & Endurance : 2-3 days per week of 8-10 exercises for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of Weight Training
- Cardio respiratory Fitness & Body Composition : At least 150-200 minutes of your favorite kind of cardio activity (Walking, Rowing, Swimming, Biking, etc)
- Flexibility : Foam Rolling (pre and post) and Stretching (post workout) done each day to increase your muscles flexibility and improve your overall mobility.
You can’t cut your risk of getting a cold this fall and winter by 100%, but if you follow some of these guidelines, and keep up an overall healthy lifestyle (minimal – moderate drinking, no smoking, minimal stress, washing your hands, exercise, etc.), you can greatly reduce your chances of getting sick. If you are doing these things and you DO get sick, chances are you’ll reduce your cold’s duration, because you have some bad ass immunity fighters rocking in your cells!