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Do You Get Sick Often? Here's 4 Keys For Optimal Wellness; Part 2

By Sean Escaravage

Hey you!

Yes you, as in you reading this now. I'm assuming that since you are here, you are curious how to learn some new ways to get rid of and avoid sickness aside from whatever isn't working currently.

If you missed part 1 of this series on the importance of sleep... click here and uncover why long sleep might not be beneficial, night time routine hacks, and how to make the most of your time tucked in the sheets

Last time, I delved into how to monitor sleep cycles work and what they are, controllable external factors to improve sleep quality, what is the optimal positioning, and more! Follow the link here and I guarantee you will find at least one takeaway to immediately improve your precious Zzz's.

So, you've purchased some blue light blocking glasses, rubbed some lavender essential oil on your wrist, and ditched the T.V. to fall asleep, awesome! You notice you have more energy in the mornings on the way in to work, replaced your extra cup of coffee with some lemon water, and that exercise routine hasn't felt like a beat-down all day, even better! But oh no. You feel some hefty sniffles coming on...a few days later a scratchy throat...and *wham*

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You Get Sick...Again

Don't panic, I'm sure this isn't your first tango with a high temperature. But you may be asking yourself,

"there's no way I can still workout" "I don't have the energy" "I don't want to spread germs"

"It will just make me even more sick!"

Well you are right...But you are also not so right. If I told you there was a way to potentially feel better faster and avoid being sick by including exercise into your routine, would you believe me? Here, let me drop some mini knowledge bombs on you before diving right in;

  • Regular physical activity strengthens the immune system, and can even help you fight off a sickness

  • You can most certainly 'overdo it' when you are sick, so be mindful of how and what the task is

  • There is a different approach to ill versus healthy training, NOT the same method

Fact: Exercise Can Make You Sick

Yes, it's true that exercise can make you sick. But, that can be extremely dependent on if you are in the right or wrong training routine for YOU. For the large majority of exercise devotee's, the root reason is to improve your health, quality of life, and longevity. Gaining strength, mobility, visible muscles, fat loss, and speed are some potential secondary goals you obtain along the journey (not that they are any less important). For that reason, engaging in the 'right' types of exercise most often is a crucial component to avoiding sickness and disease;

Brief Vigorous Exercise

A Tabata intvertal session, sprint-training, is a short time frame with high intensity style movements. Low amounts of stress in a low-moderate frequency do not directly cause an immune suppressing effect. In this 10-15 minute session, it is a small snapshot of your day and does not drastically improve or weaken your immune function; but plays an important role in enhancing VO2max, Heart Rate Variability, Power, and other self quantifiable markers.

Moderate Intensity Exercise

Brisk jogging, non-overbearing weight training or many housework chores have a great immunity boosting effect. The key here is to keep the session less than one hour to improve overall longevity. Studies have shown that consistent, recreational exercisers report fewer colds with regular aerobic training. Reason being, moderate exercise is associated with a stronger immune system from increasing the production of macrophages such, as white blood cells (WBCs), eat up invading bacteria and regulate ideal immune function. I like to think of them like the police officers patrolling your body's highway for sneaky bad guys...the good cops of course.

Prolonged Vigorous Exercise

This is where it begins to get a little hairy. Ultra-Endurance style events, or other activities that elicit a long term elevated heart rate with hard bouts of stress can actually decrease the ability of the immune system to do its job. Prolonged exercise can be fine, and even beneficial, if done in tandem with your reasons to exercise. Unless you have a rigid training protocol preparing for a race, competition, or activity that demands to sustain hard output for a long time. If that is not in your near future, that shouldn't be the bread and butter of your training if you are looking to maintain the balance of achieving training benefits without sacrificing longevity.

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Our Team Training Classes are all in 60 minute blocks, consisting of a joint and body awakening, specific preparation for the daily routine, and kick-ass personalized workout. With that, 99% of our conditioning style classes are perfect proponents for Brief Vigorous and Moderate Intensity workouts. You aren't a professional exerciser, so don't plan to train like one; there is a secret recipe for 'just enough' flirting with 'a bit too much', and we have a copy of that formula.

An immediate takeaway? Yes, avoiding stagnant activity more than 60 minutes a day is important, but grouping all of it together in one block might not be favorable long term either.

Schedule a Free Assessment and Strategy Session With Us

Factors Affecting Your Immunity

Aside from the daily scenarios specific to what you do, there are common trends that play a part in diminishing our immunity. While not all of them can be changed, it is important to be aware of what you can do to mitigate the impact they may have. Luckily, by being a Pro Coach with Precision Nutrition, we have access to use, learn, and share their amazing content! So here's a relevant, short and sweet description for how your immune system can be compromised, feel free to save this image and share with others!

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Find out why precision nutrition is on the forefront of lifestyle change here

Now, if you were reading these and diagnosing yourself as if you did a WebMD search, don't panic; these are not ultimatums. Just because they are factors does not mean they apply to every single person in the same way.

On a day to day basis, you are in total control of your Stress, Mood, and Sleep. Although it can seem tough many times, consciously trying to mitigate the bad and maximize the good emotions has a positive snowball effect on most areas of your life. Taking a segment from my previous post on How to Usurp the Holidays, this excerpt is a great tool to decrease immediate stressors by simply bringing awareness to the most basic thing we do; breathe.

So simple, yet we overlook its importance far too often! There is an unmistakable difference between just breathing to live, and consciously focusing on your inhale and exhale (even describing them made me reconnect to my breath!). For starters, take 2 minutes out of your day to emphasize an extended inhale…pause…exhale…pause, and repeat. Begin with a 3-5 second inhale, 1-3 second pause, 3-5 second exhale, and repeat as your body needs. As you become more comfortable with controlling your oxygen intake, start to lengthen the breath and the pauses; your lungs need to be exercised too! This is a great way to de-stress, warm up your body during cold weather, liven you up in the morning, and help even relax before bed…virtually an easy tool added to your toolbelt for any situation you may need. **”Stop, Breathe & Think” is a great smartphone app for guided breathing, meditation and mindfulness practice that only requires a 5 minute commitment. If you don’t have 5 minutes to invest in yourself, then you should consider re-evaluating priorities**

To read more from that article, click here

How to Exercise Once You've Caught the Sniffles

If you've made it this far, then you are truly committed to ditching excuses and finding solutions for your health (even if you don't realize it yet, you do!) Trying to go for your maximum weight deadlift, or run a really fast 5k might not resemble the best choice if you can't make it 5 steps without a sneeze. However, switching up the high intensity, weight resisted, or rapid heart rate elevating choice for a wellness restoring session is what the doctor ordered:

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Find out why precision nutrition is on the forefront of lifestyle change here

Replace your long run with a nice walk in the sunshine, or spin class with a restorative yoga session. I must make one final point clear;

Exercising with a cold is much different than if you had the flu, very different.

Not only do you feel more like a pile of crap with the flu, but by engaging in the wrong activities to try and help can potentially leave you worse off.

To fight the flu, all of the immune system warriors are called to battle at full force. Because the body is working so hard to fight off those bad guys, the illness can be aggravated moreso from minor dehydration, increased physical stress or muscle fatigue, common attributes from exercise.

Let your symptoms be your guide

Many physicians and doctors will say it is OK to exercise if your symptoms are above the neck, such as

  • Sore Throat, Stuffy Nose (congestion), Sneezing, Teary Eyes

But if your symptoms begin to make their way below the neck into

  • Coughing, Body Aches/Shivers/Soreness, Elevated Fatigue, Fever

Those symptoms below the neck are where the red flags start to fly a little bit. I highly recommend seeing a physician to find the root to the cause. Aside from finding what it is so you can properly treat it, your body is calling for rest and recovery, where just a casual walk and lying in bed can be the best course of action.

Your body is very good at telling you what is wrong, but the key is being able to listen. Sometimes we need to have our ears wide open and our surroundings shut down to hear what it is trying to say. I'm sure you've heard it scream at you, like from an acute injury or severe illness, but at times it only may have a whispering tone. So allowing yourself the ability for a few minutes to really give a head-to-toe scan of how you feel can be like a crystal ball reading into what is going on with your body. If you have been on a roll with your current exercise routine, and think that if you stop you won't be able to get back on track, use this as a resource to give you some ideas on how to avoid putting your body into the gutter without doing 'nothing'.

Stay up to date on our articles, events, and membership offers to keep your brain and physical-gains coming; a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body!

Wishing You Great Health and Strength,

Coach Sean

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