Mornings are getting darker and its becoming increasingly hard to get up every morning for those early training sessions.
It’s a sure sign summer is well n truly on its way out and it won’t be long before the track pants and jumpers will be on show. One thing that always follows winter is that dreaded cold or flu. Catching one of these nasty bugs could stop you working, training and getting out with friends. It is vital to maintain a healthy immune system to keep the germs at bay.
So, what is your immune system?
The first and most basic layer of the immune system is your skin and mucus membrane. Together these act as a physical barrier to prevent invasion from foreign bodies and other antigens, such as parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins.
The second layer is known as the innate immune system. It is a broad-acting, short-term, non-specific immune response within the body to pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. But how do we keep this system strong?
Gut health is number 1!
Your immune system is dependent on how healthy your gut is. Supplementing with a good probiotic with at least 1 billion live bacteria will ensure positive gut health. They can also ensure digestion and absorption of nutrients from foods helping to avoid nutrient deficiencies which could compromise your immune system.
Fruit & Veg are key!
Think of these as natures multivitamins. They provide fibre, vitamins and all the antioxidants you need to clear out toxins from the body. Be sure to get as much variety as possible – reds, greens, purples and any other colours that peak your interest.
Too many people are missing out on good quality sleep for long enough periods of time. During sleep, you produce white blood cells that fight off disease and illness. To function at your best aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to ensure proper recovery.
More and more people are walking around dehydrated every day without even knowing it. Not having enough water can result in several problems including immune dysfunction. Aim for 3 litres of filtered water per day and you should be hitting your requirements to maintain cellular hydration.
Avoid Processed Junk!
Trans fats, artificial sweeteners, additives and alcohol will increase toxicity levels and make your immune system work over time to eliminate these nasties. Fresh meat and veg is always best and where possible squeeze in some organic foods.
Training is key but be mindful what you chose to do. Strength training can improve gene activity, lifting your body’s natural antioxidant system. When your immune system is low avoid high intensity endurance training as this can cause further damage by elevating stress hormones. Stick to short weight based training sessions with appropriate rest periods. If energy is low the best thing to do is rest. Give your body a chance to recover and come back stronger.
By following these simple steps, you will get the most out of your training this winter.
Sleep enough, eat well and drink plenty of water and you will be ensuring your immune health is where it needs to be.