There is a complex relationship between exercise and the immune system response. Immunology studies show that exercise affects various aspects of immune function. These studies show immune response between pro-infective and pro-inflammatory responses regulated by stresses placed on physical, environmental and psychological environments of exercisers. These stresses are what may be the culprit for the higher incidences of immunosuppression as well as infections. Because of this, exercisers, especially endurance athletes, have a tendency to develop upper respiratory tract infections (colds) following intense training. Thankfully, there are some strategies to reduce these negative affects of exercise on the immune system such as:
1. Ingesting a diet that is nutritionally adequate comprised of foods rich in lean protein and carbohydrates (whole grain, fruits, and vegetables).
2. Prevent overtraining. Overtraining can lead to chronic fatigue and depress the immune system.
3. Get enough sleep. Regular sleeping schedule reduces the likelihood of depressed immunity.
4. Avoid rapid reductions of body weight through low caloric intake or crash diets.
5. Try to wash your hands frequently. Keeping hands away from eyes and nose is always a good practice.
6. Consider getting a flu shot.