Have you already shaken the hand of someone else today? Given the partner a kiss? Notice that the colleague has just enjoyed? Most of us are in contact with other people for most of the day, and by the time we get to the Gym, we come into contact with a variety of objects that we don't know who has touched them before. Not only during the flu season, there are potential disease foci lurking everywhere, but our body usually knows how to cope well.
More precisely, it is our immune system that prevents us from being put out of action every time we come into contact with viruses or bacteria. Especially if one or the other case of illness occurs in the immediate vicinity (again), it can be particularly important to pay attention to your immune system. The following points can be useful to avoid illness-related, unplanned training breaks.
Training makes you (short term) more susceptible to disease
Physical stress in the form of Training in the gym is a great challenge for the body. In order for us to be rewarded with strength and muscle building, it is known that such strong stimuli must be placed in the Studio that the existing tissue is damaged. There are small micro-traumas, which are repaired during the regeneration phase. Not only is the initial level restored, but hypertrophy is also implemented in the course of supercompensation. The muscles become (gradually) larger.
In order for Regeneration to be effective, however, the training-related degradation products must first be removed. Our immune system is involved in this: directly after severe physical stress, the proportion of white blood cells (leukocytes and lymphocytes) in the body increases - as far as no Problem. After about three hours, however, the number of white blood cells drops significantly again and temporarily even below the normal level.
This effect is called "Open Window Effect". Thus, it opens not only the anabolic window for carbohydrates and amino acids, but also an immunological window for potential pathogens. Overall, the training-related weakening of the immune system can last up to 72 hours, whereby the training intensity and individual stress resistance play an important role.
What can you do to protect yourself from disease?
Everything in life has its advantages and disadvantages and the potential risk of infection should not lead to the conclusion that exercising in the gym during the flu season should be avoided. However, you can pay attention to a few things to keep the Open Window effect as low as possible.
One reason for the weakened immune system following the Training is the potential release of cortisol following too intensive units. This point should not be misunderstood in the sense that you should not exert yourself in Training or even have to train with the handbrake on. On the other hand, however, units should not be artificially elongated. True to the Motto "Train smart, not hard", sufficient stimuli should be set in Training. However, there do not have to be 20 sets of squats and a two-hour leg workout, after which you can hardly stand upright.
After Training, a short Cool Down of five to ten minutes on the Radergometer, for example, can be useful to support the body in removing the breakdown products. In this context, bodybuilders and fitness athletes also benefit from regular cardio training, which trains the cardiovascular system and creates a certain basic endurance.
Once you have left the training area for good, washing your hands, as well as the Rest of the day, is an effective protection against unwanted infection. One does not have to become a hermit and avoid any contact with fellow human beings. However, thorough washing of the hands, especially before one for example brings food to oneself, is a measure that one may calmly pursue more often in the day.
When it finally goes to bed, the support of your immune system does not stop in any case. Many people, especially during the week, tend to sleep too little, which can not only lead to a worsened stress resistance, but ultimately even endanger muscle building. Work actively to improve your Sleep, and benefit from this in both physical and health terms.
Vitamin D, glutamine and co: what supports the immune system?
Supplements are not drugs and of course you should not expect miracles from them! Nevertheless, dietary supplements can play a useful part in supporting your immune system and keeping you healthy, or shortening the disease.
The latter point applies, for example, to Vitamin C. According to current scientific findings, the essential micronutrient cannot (completely) prevent a cold, but a longer-term intake can help to shorten the cold duration or alleviate the symptoms. In addition, especially two to three weeks before particularly great physical challenges, such as a competition, an increased intake may be useful to prevent subsequent failures due to diseases.
Vitamin D is another substance that is absolutely necessary for the control of pathogens. In our regions, most people do not only have insufficient Vitamin D levels during the winter season, but the few hours of sunshine during the colder months further reinforce the already existing lack of supply. The body needs Vitamin D to activate certain cells of the immune system (T cells) and finally to successfully fight pathogens in the body.
In order for Vitamin D, but also other nutrients, to be absorbed sufficiently, it requires a healthy small intestine. Only what is taken up in this part of the digestive system can actually be utilized by the body. But while the nutrients of the food on the one hand should be absorbed as completely as possible by the body, we want to prevent the penetration of pathogens via the small intestine.
These can enter the body via the mouth, for example, if the hands are not washed properly. To prevent this, the small intestine has a dense epithelial layer, which should make the penetration of undesirable substances impossible. This is supported by the gut's own immune system (the so – called GALT-gut-associated lymphoid tissue), which is the largest collection of immune cells in the body. The amino acid glutamine serves these cells as an important source of energy, so that a sufficient supply of this amino acid is an important pillar for a strong immune system.
If one should nevertheless fall ill despite all precautions, inflammation can occur in the course of bacterial diseases. To combat this, the body needs Omega-6 fatty acids, of which we in the Western world usually supply more than enough. However, these Omega-6 fatty acids must be in balance with Omega-3 fatty acids,so that the body's reactions are controlled again after successfully combating the disease.
In contrast to Omega-6 fatty acids, most people consume too little Omega-3 fatty acids. Those who do not regularly eat oily fish caught in the sea should therefore in any case consider the permanent intake of the essential Omega-3 fatty acids. This depends in particular on the DHA-EPA content, so that a high-dose Omega-3 capsules, of which one capsule per day is sufficient for most people, is the best choice.
If in doubt, prefer a day more break
Even if you are still so careful, this does not mean that you will never get sick again. Especially if the first problems are hinting at, you feel sickly or the resting pulse is noticeably increased, it can be useful to give your body another day of rest. In addition, in addition to the points mentioned in this article, the general rule is that a balanced Lifestyle should be maintained and attention should be paid to a healthy diet. If you take all this into account, you have already done a lot to support your immune system in a meaningful way.