How to Boost a Runner’s Immune System
Isn’t it amazing being able to run a marathon or a half-marathon? Or even the smaller distances takes a lot of effort and PRACTICE. It’s the run-up to any running event you’ve signed up for that takes its toll on your immune system. And you probably only realize it does so after the event in question.
Most of us push our physical systems to whole new levels by running that incredible distance. And for practicing to run this incredible distance beforehand. So how do you cope?
How do you boost your immune system to suit your running lifestyle?
I still remember the nasty cold I got a mere couple of days after completing my first marathon. Apart from having sore muscles, I had a sore throat, bad cough, runny nose, migraine…the works! I wondered what I had done wrong during my training preparations and the aftermath to get so seriously ill.
Sure, I got my carbs right, I also indulged in lots of sweets after each training but where were all the vitamins? And I’m not talking about adding some peppers and fresh tomato in your pasta.
It’s a common misconception that a runner who just finished a marathon can indulge in every food scenario that equals the craving including fast food. A healthy balanced meal plan is still the preferable option.
Vitamins A, C, E, B12, and B6 are also commonly associated with maintaining a healthy immune system.
There have been a few tricks and tips which have helped me stay on track and ward off any colds and flu and to generally, feel on top of the world when running or resting.
Tip #1 Spinach soup
Take a whole bunch of fresh or frozen spinach leaves. Fry it with a little olive oil, onion and garlic. Season it up to your taste and simmer it with a little water for about 10-15 minutes. Blend in a food processor and drink a mug of it before each meal.
Tip #2 Citrus power
Start each day with lemon water or a freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Yeah, I know, I also like coffee in the mornings but that’s after drinking the above-mentioned potion.
Tip #3 Honey
Any good quality honey is great. Add it to teas, warm lemon water or eat a tablespoon after a run instead of jam. Replace it in cookies, toast, etc. Chew on the honey wax as well. It really works.
Tip #4 Yogurt
Probiotics are very important. Now, if you’re anything like me, you would prefer natural probiotics and yogurt is one of the best sources.
Tip #5 Garlic
Bad breath following consumption aside, garlic is indeed a true miracle! I add it to soak into lemon water and drink it. If this is too brave, then definitely add it to cooked meals.
All the good nutritional intentions will not save you from a cold if you wear
inappropriate for the weather clothes. If the weather is cold and chilly,
definitely put on layers on you when stepping outside for a run. Sure, you will be even more so soaking wet with sweat when you finish but at least your body will not have generated the chills.
When I first started running outdoors, I would always underdress thinking I would just speed up my run in the beginning to feel warmer. Na-ah. That’s not how it worked and by the time I was warmed up, instead of feeling warm, I would still be shaking with cold.
Tip #1 Sports jacket
Even if you’re going to wear shorter leggings or a tracksuit, a sports jacket
will help keep your upper body protected from the wind and chills of winter.
Tip #2 Scarf
When it’s extremely cold, put a scarf in front of your nose to help prevent
chest pains from inhaling the cold winter air. Chest pains are plain horrible
and being mid-aged, always scare me a bit. Best to play it safe.
Invest in a suitable clothing for runners that would absorb sweat and help keep you dry.
These are my tips on how to keep a new runner healthy throughout the cold winter season. Do share your tips and tricks as well; I’ll be curious to know if there are any other ways out there for keeping us runners as healthy as we can be.