Cough, Cough. Cough, Cough. Sniffle, Sniffle.
You glance around to find the source of the wretched sound: There sits the red-nosed snot goblin –20 feet away, blasting away on curls between sets of sneezes.
A snot-filled secretion spray projects through the air, splattering the dumbbells for the sixth time; you suddenly become aware of the season: Flu Season.
You’re thinking, “there goes the rest of my workout, I don’t want what that guy has.” The gym already holds tons of bacteria from all everyone leaving their stank everywhere– how can you stay healthy?
Workout quality, sleep, and nutrition all suffer when you’re in the grips of a cold; therefore, it’s best to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Proper nutrition, hydration, and basic hygiene are simple, but neglected behaviors that have a huge impact on your health and workouts.
That first throat tickle or sniffle doesn’t have to be a sentence to cough syrup and Kleenex. Here’s a few cold-killers to keep you healthy.
1.) Wash your poop-laced Hands
According to this study at Michigan State, only 5% of people properly wash their hands in public restrooms. That means as many as 95% of people are walking around with some grimy, fecal discharge on their hands. Great.
Wash your hands for at least twenty seconds and hit your fingernails, between fingers, wrists, and the forearms thoroughly.
2.) Hold Your Breath
When someone coughs or sneezes hold your breath immediately. This can keep most of the airborne particles from the being inspired, decreasing your chances of getting sick.
3.) Drink More Water
Proper hydration is vital for optimal cell function. When fighting an illness your body temperature is elevated, increasing the need for fluids. The more water you pump into your body the faster your immune system will fight invaders.
4.) Avoid Booze
As tempting as “Hot Toddy’s may be they will keep you sick. Alcohol will dehydrate you, ruin sleep quality, and depress your immune system. Sound like a recipe to stay sick? It is! Stick with water or green tea.
5.) Drink Green Tea
Green Tea is an antioxidant powerhouse. Studies show that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a compound in green tea increases antibodies in the blood to stop the replication of cold and flu viruses. If you’re getting sick drink pick up some high-quality green tea and drink up.
6.) Take Vitamin D
Notice how rarely you get sick in the summer and warm times of the year?
Cold and flu season takes place in winter; non-coincidently, most people become deficient of Vitamin D due to seasonal weather changes. Vitamin D supplementation provides a huge boost to the immune system. It’s hard to get too much vitamin D, as we consume copious amounts from the sun in warm months.
During cold and flu season supplement 2000-5000 IU’s of Vitamin D. Toxic levels have been reported at 60,000 IU’s per day for months on end, so don’t worry about getting too much.
Exercise is great for looking good naked, but it will also improve your immune function.
Hit the weights 3-4x per week plus a few days of high-intensity cardio, walk your dog, play a sport, or go do some yard work. Just go do something.
Already sick? You can still exercise, just lower the intensity and keep your germs to yourself.
8.) Sleep More
According to Michael Irwin, M.D., sleep researcher at UCLA , if your sleep decreases by greater than forty percent the effectiveness of your immune system declines by fifty percent. Aim for 8 quality hours of sleep per night.
It sucks to wake up with a congestion headache or itchy throat. These health and nutrition practices will keep you healthy and your workouts on track this season… while preventing the transfer of fecal bacteria—which is always a good thing.
Ready to get back in the gym? I‘ll answer all your questions!
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Chant, Ian. “Study Finds Only 5% of People Wash Their Hands Properly in Public Restrooms.” GeekoSystem. N.p., 11 6 2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. <http://www.geekosystem.com/hand-washing-study/>.
Immunity Granted.” Men’s Health. Rodale Inc., 11 11 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2013. .