The gym is a breeding ground for germs, especially during cold and flu season. Everyone is sneezing, blowing their nose, and then touching gym equipment. Where’s the gym etiquette of wiping your hands clean, not just the equipment? Not to mention there’s now the coronavirus to worry about—your immune system is working overtime lately just to make sure you don’t end up on your back for an extended period of time.
Several studies have shown that intense training programs can put some stress on the body’s immune system, so gym rats are more likely to catch something from a sneeze droplet than the average Joe. Intense exercise can even put people at an increased risk of upper-respiratory tract infections, according to one study out of Scientific Reports.
“Intensive exercise produces a decrease in the immune system functionality which makes the body more vulnerable to infectious agents,” the researchers noted. “This period is known as an ‘open window’ to pathogens.” This flies in the face of the popular belief that people who workout more are more likely to shake off a cold, or even the coronavirus (which is just not true at all).
And while upping your immune system won’t 100 percent safeguard you from germs and viruses, increasing your intake of vitamins and minerals can help decrease the amount of time you’re on the sidelines. In other words, you might still get sick even if you eat all of these foods but you’ll be in bed for only three or four days instead of a week-and-a-half.