How to stay fighting fit

Physio Yasmin Badiani takes a quick look at how cycling can affect your immune system

Physiotherapist and head of sport for Phizz, Yasmin Badiani, gives us a few tips on how to stay fighting fit when training.

1. Why worry

Physical exercise is very beneficial in controlling weight, reducing cardiovascular disease, strengthening bones and muscles as well as improving your mental health and mood. However, what many people don’t realise is that too much exercise can have a negative impact on your immunity.

The body produces two hormones during exercise — adrenaline and cortisol — which suppress white blood cells resulting in a temporarily weakened immune system for the 3–72 hours following an intense workout. This puts athletes, including cyclists, at a higher risk of upper respiratory tract infections.

2. How can we avoid this?

The key is to find the right level of exercise that challenges your body to maintain and increase fitness without overstressing it and increasing your chances of contracting an infection.

More pronounced weakened immune resistance occurs when cycling for prolonged periods (more than 90 mins), at a moderate/high intensity and performed without food intake.

3. Vital vitamins

Research has shown that Vitamin A, E, B6 and B12 deficiency is associated with impaired training, so by using a hydration tablet that contains multi-vitamins, you can help to reduce the risk of contracting infections.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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