It’s that time of year again; cold and flu season, which can often stop a perfectly good workout regimen in its tracks. Not only do colds make us miserable, as athletes, they also slow us down and prevent us from meeting our weekly fitness goals. While there are over 200 virus strains considered to be what we call the “common cold”, they all have one thing in common — they make us sick, and we want to feel better as soon as possible.
Often we can feel when a nasty virus or bug is coming. It starts with a few sniffles and sneezes, or a general feeling of tiredness or achiness that can’t be attributed to a killer workout.
The next time you feel the sniffles coming on, you’ll want to fortify your body’s defenses by trying these 5 healthy ways to fight off a cold:
- Rest, and reduce stress. Stressors contribute to illness in a number of ways, and make it difficult for our bodies to fight off colds and flus. While we can’t eliminate every source of stress from our lives, we can find appropriate ways to reduce our stress, including using relaxation techniques, or trading our evening run for an hour of relaxing yoga when we’re feeling drained. Make sure when you feel a cold coming on that you get adequate sleep, too.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Hydration is an important part of everyday health, but it can really make a huge difference when you feel a bad bug coming on. Try to drink mostly water, and forgo the sugary sports drinks for another day when you’re burning a ton of calories. Don’t drink alcohol at all if you feel a cold coming on – you’ll overtax your system and have trouble fighting it off.
- Try hot tea with honey. Liquids help stave off runny noses and help clear the sinuses. Honey can soothe a sore throat, and combined, they can help prevent an itchy, scratchy cough often associated with cold symptoms.
- Try immune-boosting Omega 3s foods or supplements. Foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, such as cod, salmon, and mackerel, may fight colds by reducing inflammation in the body. Studies have also shown they also reduce anxiety, one of the stressors that makes people more susceptible to colds in the first place.
- Use Zinc. Zinc has been proven to reduce the duration of cold symptoms and analysis of several studies showed that zinc lozenges or syrup reduced the length of a cold by one day. The earlier you start supplementing with Zinc, the more effective it is against viruses, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold. Just be careful and don’t overdo it; an overdose of Zinc can also have serious health consequences.
These are just a few things you can do to fight off a cold. Unfortunately, no matter how physically fit you are, there’s no way to completely avoid everyday viruses like the common cold, so when a bad bug hits you, make sure you take the proper time to recover completely. Don’t bring your cold or flu bugs to the gym, please!
Are you interested in improving your exercise routine? Want to up your game but not sure the best steps to meet your goals? We help athletes just like you everyday create a plan for success. Feel free to contact us to find out more about how we can help you meet your fitness goals.
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