Athletes are more susceptible to respiratory infections such as the common cold, particularly during a heavy training period or leading into competition. With UTA just around the corner, here are some timely tips to stay healthy and limit your risk of infection at this key time.
Our immune system is an extraordinary system that protects us from a huge number of infections on a daily basis. Certain factors can compromise our immune system, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, too much exercise, lack of sleep or psychological stress. So you can imagine what might happen if you’re a busy Mum, not sleeping great, training for an endurance event and then the boss puts the hammer down. It could be a recipe for a virus-filled disaster!
Apart from working on your sleep hygiene, telling the boss to take a hike, and having some regular ‘you time’, eating a nutrient-rich diet (and enough of it) will help to keep the illness away.
My two top diet tips for immune health are:
- Make sure you get enough ENERGY. Eating in an energy deficit, where you are not eating enough for the demands of all your had training, is a sure-fire way of running yourself into the ground. I understand that life can be busy, especially as a running Mum, and that sometimes meals are unintentionally skipped as a result. Making the time to plan your meals in advance and being prepared with some healthy convenience options to grab-and-go, can ensure you aren’t every caught out.
- Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruit, as they contain immune-boosting Vitamin C and antioxidants. Fruits particularly high in Vitamin C are citrus and vegetables include red capsicum and broccoli. But of course, eat a variety of different coloured vegetables and fruits to get the variety of micronutrients they can provide!
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