Our immune systems are doing a great job of protecting our bodies from microorganisms that can cause disease.
Unfortunately, the immune system can sometimes fail due to various factors. If you are an athlete, there is nothing worse than putting in the hard work and grinding to prepare for an event only to get sick and miss the thing you trained for.
Pushing yourself to the limit every time leaves your immune system compromised and vulnerable. Here are some strategies that athletes can use to stay healthy and at 100% all year round.
Athletes train hard on a daily basis to get good results. Not giving your body enough time to rest after a high intensity workout only increases your chances of getting sick. If you don’t sleep enough and overwork your muscles constantly you will create an acidic environment in your body. Which is a perfect situation for viruses and germs to hit you. Sleep is the time for immune system to do repairs and help you recover. Your muscles need rest after depleting yourself in a workout, and you should always aim for seven to nine hours of good night’s sleep.
This one shouldn’t even be mentioned because it is common sense but many athletes forget about this very important fact. Being hydrated can help stave off a sickness, but you have to do it the right way. Throw out sweetened sports drink and substitute it with filtered water. Drinks that contain sugar will spike your glucose levels which will result in suppressing your immune system and therefore make you more likely to catch a cold or flu. You can add sugarless electrolyte packets to your water to give it a boost. But don’t forget to drink water before you are actually thirsty.
Be stress free
Being stressed constantly can take its toll on your immune system, and increase your risk of getting sidelined for an event if you are an athlete. People who are exposed to stress are two times likely to catch a cold. Athletes can find themselves in high stress situations while playing various sports. This wrecks their immune system. Try to take some time for yourself every day if you are an active athlete. Aim for at least 30 minutes of relaxation. Some quiet meditation, yoga classes or even a simple bath can help you relax and rejuvenate your immune system.
Supplements help athletes boost their performance on field and in the gym every day. But it is also important to take the right supplements. For health in general, when cold season kicks in, athletes are recommended to take multivitamins and minerals. The ones vitamins A, C, and vitamin D combined with zinc and L-carnitine can do wonders for your immune system. You can also take fitness supplements to boost your performance if the workouts are overwhelming
After a hard workout your immune system will be suppressed because of the higher production of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Athletes deplete their carb resources and are prone to having increased level of these hormones post workout. It is recommended for athletes to take in 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates for every hour of an intense exercise to reduce stress hormones. Supply yourself with enough protein and carbs before and after an exercise to improve recovery.
Follow these simple guidelines for keeping your immune system firing on all cylinders. Don’t let a simple cold ruin all the hard work you put in and prevent you from performing at your best as an athlete.