Tips to Stay (UN) Sick
That’s right, I am sick. There is not many things I hate more than being sick…… except for BOSU balls, the Vikings, and being awakened by car alarms.
Suffering through my current cold has reminded me of the importance of basic nutrition, hygiene, and hydration, things that all can be forgotten but have a huge impact of your overall health and workouts. That being said I’m deviating from my typical style and providing some tips to keep the cold/flu bugs at bay. Besides, if you can’t stay healthy your motivation to train will suffer and so will your hard earned progress towards your exercise goals.
That being said let’s get it crackin’!
Wash your Damn Hands!
It’s frightening how simple, yet forgotten this one is. You don’t want putting someones fecal discharge in your gullet do you? Before/after cooking and eating meals, at the gym, bathroom, and even using the water cooler are important times to wash and or sanitize your hands. I prefer washing with warm soapy water, as some strains of the cold and flu virus are not killed by commercial hand sanitizers. Wash for 20+ seconds and make sure you hit your fingernails, between fingers, wrists, and even parts of the forearm thoroughly.
- Hold Your Breath!
When someone around you coughs or sneezes hold your breath immediately. Amazingly this little trick can keep most of the airborne particles from the “infested one” from being inspired by you, making you less likely to get the illness
- Drink Water Constantly
Hydration status is vital for optimal cell function. If your body is fighting an illness your body temperature is likely elevated, increasing the need for fluids. The more water you can pump into your body the faster your immune system can fight the invaders.
- Avoid Booze
Alcohol will dehydrate you, ruin your sleep quality, and depress your immune system. Sound like a recipe to get or stay sick? It is!
- Drink Green Tea
Green Tea is an antioxidant powerhouse. Recent studies show that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a prominent compound in green tea can increase certain antibodies in the blood known to stop the replication of certain cold and flu viruses in their tracks. If you feel you may be getting sick drink copious amounts of the stuff!
- Take Vitamin D
Notice how you rarely 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 can provide a huge boost to the immune system and your overall mood. It is hard to get too much vitamin D, as we can copious amounts from the sun in warm months. During cold and flu season I recommend supplementing with 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 as it rarely occurs.
It’s great for you and will improve your immune system, unless you are performing absurd amounts of work such as 3-5 hours per day on end. Marathon runners and extreme endurance athletes are at the biggest risk of illness. Hit the weights 3-4x per week and perform some high intensity cardio a few days per weekand you are set.
- Get Sleep
According to Michael Irwin, M.D., sleep researcher at UCLA if the amount of sleep you are getting decreases by >40% the effectiveness of your immune system will decline by 50 percent. For the immune system to function optimally aim for 8 quality hours of sleep per night.
There you have it, 7 tips to keep you from illness or, if you’re like me, get rid of it once and for all!