If you’re running to stay healthy, make sure you don’t work too hard.
Running has been shown many times to boost the immune system, so long as you’re not exercising too hard or for too long. With flu season not far off, it’s important to make sure you’re doing your best to avoid getting sick.
There are a few different theories as to how moderate exercise can boost your immune system and decrease your chances of getting sick. Some believe exercise clears the lungs of airborne bacteria and some think it may have to do with regular sweating. Others think the increased blood flow helps to kill off viruses early. It may be a combination. Either way, researchers seems content in agreeing that it works, but they also tend to agree that too much exercise can have a negative affect on your immune system.
Long, hard efforts can wreak havoc on your immune system and there’s no shortage of stories about runners getting sick after a marathon. If you’re running goal is to be as healthy as you can, long races are actually something worth avoiding. Marathons, and even half-marathons, can leave you vulnerable to sickness for a up to three days afterwards. Sustained overtraining can also leave your immune system suppressed, so if you feel as though you may be overtraining, especially around this time of the year, make sure you’re also keeping on top of other health issues.
Also, after a hard effort, trying downing a carbohydrate drink, which has been shown to help keep you from getting sick afterwards a few different ways.
When illness is floating around, it’s always best to stay on the safe side. Getting sick from working out too hard could set you back further because of missed days. It may be better to just take it easy for a week.