Nobody likes to be sick. It's inconvenient to miss work, school or social activities. Plus, being sick can put a snag in your training program. While a missed workout once in a while is not a big deal, the winter months bring more frequent bouts of the common cold and seasonal flu.
More: 4 Ways to Flu-Proof Your Winter
Symptoms from both can linger from days to weeks. While there is no great impact from a few days off from your workouts, prolonged illnesses can really upset any fitness routine.
So, is there a way to minimize susceptibility to the cold or flu? If you do get sick, is it wise to train or skip a few days? If you do take time off, when is it safe to resume training?
More: An Athlete's Guide to the Immune System
Read on for your winter cold and flu survival guide:
How can I make my immune system stronger?
The short answer: If there was a way to boost your immunity, I wouldn't be writing this article.
As enticing as it is, the ability to boost your immunity has proved elusive. The main reason for this is due to the fact that we have an immune 'system' and not a single regulator of the immune response. The complexity of the immune system makes it difficult to target a single molecule to provide protection. Also, to speak to the issue of homeostasis, the body requires balance. Quite often, manipulating one factor of the immune response can have a negative effect on another system in the body.
While there are no scientifically proven links between lifestyles or supplements on enhanced immune function, there are preliminary data to support that a healthy diet, adequate sleep, moderate exercise and decreased psychological stress can help prevent ones susceptibility to getting sick. Unfortunately, there's not one factor that has unequivocally proven to protect one against the cold or flu.
More: 6 Ways to Fend off a Cold or Flu