Boosting Your Immune System for Cold and Flu Season

You have finally sorted your diet and workout routine, found a perfect rhythm and seeing your body slowly transform to that dream physique and then all of a sudden, BANG!!! You fall sick.

We have all been here and have even given up on our quest towards living a healthy lifestyle.

Our immune system is vital towards our overall well-being and if it is weak, then we are more vulnerable to getting sick and developing serious illnesses. Recently, with the changing weather, I experienced the worst flu ever, feeling light headed, feverish and walking around with a seriously runny nose. During my recent period of fighting the flu, I decided to do something totally different to what I usually do and have decided to share with you my experience.

It is all the more important to improve your immune system and keep you on path towards achieving that dream physique.

In my previous experiences, when I got sick, I would stop everything and just recover. My diet will take a huge hit, eating junk food and a lot of sugar, and I would mostly be sedentary, without any gym time whatsoever. This time was a little different; I decided to keep my workout and dieting going whilst I was sick and guess what? It worked a treat.

There isn’t many articles out there with a clear cut, scientific reason to working out while being sick, however conventional wisdom suggest that if you only suffer from a light cold or flu, it does no harm in getting a workout.

I was suffering from a serious flu, on day one, I woke up to a slight fever, however rather than calling in sick, I carried out my normal routine, grabbed my gym gear and headed to work.

My diet remained as usual and after work I headed to the gym. I kept my intensity to my usual, had a hot shower and headed back home. All in all, I felt normal, had a runny nose, but it was all good.

Day Ninety Seven - Got a Cold

The next morning, I woke up to a far worse affair, I had a high temperature, felt extremely weak, my body was aching, my voice was deep and my nose was awfully blocked. Again, I decided to continue with my normal routine, however with a few workaround to get me through the day.

Firstly, I introduced my grandmother’s immune strengthening Tea into my breakfast, then took some flu medication, grabbed my gym gear and headed to work.

At work, I kept myself well hydrated with water and had small increments of Vitamin C (your body can only absorb a small amount at one time). During lunch, I would have my normal meal, followed by a hot tea and some flu medications.

After work, I headed to the gym, got changed and forced myself to carry out my workout at the usual intensity, then had a hot shower and headed home.

At home, I had a lighter than usual, but balanced dinner, my flu medication and then decided to get to bed earlier than usual.

Morning came and I still felt similar to my previous day. However, continued my slightly tweaked routine.

The next, day I was feeling much better, my flu had improved and I was feeling more normal. I decided to continue my new routine.

By day five I was somewhat back to my usual self, my flu had subsided dramatically, although my nose was still blocked, but not as bad as day two, I had more energy and continued my plan.

As the week came to a close, I was fully recovered and back to my normal self.

So what can we take away from this?

Well, although it is a wiser option to rest and recover, the option I chose still provided me with a great result. All I am saying is tweak your diet slightly, focusing on drinking more fluids, taking the right medications and infusing some immune strengthening foods to your diet. Furthermore, try to get some extra sleep, as your body heals and repairs itself during sleep.

When you head to the gym, make sure you sanitise the equipment before and after your workout (always think of other gym goers) to minimise the spread of germs, and lastly when you are strong and well, focus more on building your immune system, reducing any chances of contracting a flu in the future.

Here are a few tips to strengthen your immune system and prevent you from getting sick:

Keep your hands clean at all times

Viruses are caught as a result of contact with germs. If you touch something that a sick person touched or shake the hands of a sick person, you will tend to contract whatever virus they might have. Therefore, always try to keep your hands sanitised and clean, and avoid rubbing your nose or sticking your hand in your mouth (I have no idea why someone would do this, but don’t if you are one of those who like sticking their hand in their mouth)

Build Up Your Immune System

When it comes to building your immune system, the easiest thing to do is crank up your intake of antioxidants. Antioxidants are simply substances that help in killing free radicals (damaged cells that can weaken the immune system and cause illnesses/diseases). Try to eat foods that are high in vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin A, i.e. citrus fruits (orange, lemon), tomatoes, carrots and sunflower seeds, or if all else fails, introduce a multi-vitamin supplement.

Exercise More

That right! Get in a workout. Besides the normal benefits of building muscle mass, fat loss, improved brain functionality and better circulation, a good session in the gym can also help build your immune system. Try to get a 30-45 minute session, at least four to six days a week.

Introduce More Herbs and Spices

Many herbs and spices have immune boosting effects. Try to include herbs and spices such as garlic, ginseng, ginger, turmeric and cayenne.

Sleep it off

Number one rule to building muscle and losing weight is getting enough sleep. This rule also applies to strengthening your immune system. Don’t slack when it comes to sleep, as it is during sleep, where our body repairs, rebuilds and heals. Try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Drink Water

Similar to sleep water is an all-important ingredient. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues, helping regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Water also helps to flush out toxins. Therefore, drink plenty of water.

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