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HOW RUNNING KEEPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG IN THE WINTER

9 Nov 2016

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It’s difficult to stay on the top of your game throughout the winter months, however regular runs in the best gear, with the right preparation and nutrition will improve your immune system and keep you healthy whilst everyone else falls around you.

 

RAISE THE TEMPERATURE

When you head out on a chilly training run before work, it’s important not to pick up any injuries. The winter season is a time where injuries are in abundance and warming-up properly goes a long way to preventing them. Warming-up is important at the best of times, but even more so in the cold months where muscles are stiffer and colder pre-workout. Take a light jog to begin with and increase your heart rate to get blood flowing round your muscles. Once your heart rate is up, perform some dynamic stretches, starting from the bottom, working your way up your body as you go, start with your calves, progressing through to your hamstrings, quads and glutes. Keep the stretches dynamic so your muscles continue to move and don’t begin to stiffen up again. Slowly increase the intensity throughout the warm-up so that by the end, you’re warm, loose and ready for the intensity of your run.

To maintain a healthy body and a strong immune system, take with you Odlo’s ZEROWEIGHT running jacket for men or the ZEROWEIGHT logic jacket for women. The high quality Logic Windproof technology will protect you against the elements, whilst its body-mapping construction provides maximum comfort and manages moisture excellently with its breathable panels to keep your body temperature at its optimum level. By raising and maintaining your body temperature, your immune system will reap the benefits; the increase in temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria in the body that will help fight infection better and keep you healthier. The subtle reflective elements on the jackets will also keep you seen and safe in low light conditions.

 

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SWEAT IT OUT

Also, increased perspiration will increase the loss of carcinogens through sweat and urine, which improves the body’s immune system’s ability to attack viral malignancies, reducing the risks of developing specific cancers. Keeping the vital parts of your body warm and allowing your body to sweat efficiently is essential in keeping your immune system strong and to protect against the winter viruses. The Odlo POLYKNIT hat quickly wicks moisture away meaning you stay warm and can keep your mind focussed whilst the sweat removes any unwanted carcinogens from your body. The hat also comes in a range of colours so that you stay looking great despite the ugly weather. The Odlo JOGGER 2.0 running gloves soft knitted ThermoRoubaix© fabric will wick away any moisture to keep your hands warm and protected from the cold bite of the November weather and the silicone print on the palm will provide you with all the grip you need for any winter activity.

 

CLEAR YOUR AIRWAYS

As well as an increase in your body temperature on your run, your heart rate will increase, your breathing will get heavier and you’ll begin to perspire; according to studies, these physiological effects will all have a positive influence on your immune system. As your heart rate increases, blood is pumped around your body quicker and in turn increases the circulation of protective cells to fight infections in your body during exercise. With the increase in heavy breathing, some studies claim that regular runs help clear any airborne bacteria and viruses in the lungs with the increase of oxygen passing through them.

 

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REDUCE YOUR STRESS LEVELS

Stress is often an accountable factor for a reduced immune system and increases in the risk of illness; however running slows the release of stress hormones. Due to this slowing, the immune system has fewer hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine fighting against it. This is often only the case in less strenuous runs where one does not over exert themselves. Many argue that the immune system is only improved with moderate intensity runs for anything less then 90 minutes; anything more can cause peaks in these stress hormones which could potentially impede the immune systems performance, therefore managing your training is important in maintaining a healthy body. When running in the winter, the road and weather conditions can cause increased and unnecessary stress; the Odlo ZEROWEIGHT Logic running pants for men and Odlo ZEROWEIGHT running tights for women will reduce the stress these factors cause. The windproof and water-repellent Odlo Logic technology keeps the weather out, ensuring you stay dry and warm and the super comfortable fit reduces any extra stress. They also have safety covered with reflective design elements to keep you visible in low light, allowing you focus on staying #OneStepAhead.

 

EAT THE RIGHT THINGS

Nutrition is the defining factor for maintaining your improved immune system and keeping you clear of any winter virus. It’s important not to underestimate the effects your run has on your body; after strenuous exercise, the body’s nutrient stores are majorly depleted and leave the immune system in a vulnerable position. The stores need replenishing as soon as possible to prevent your defences being lowered; drinking carbohydrate drinks before, during and after runs has shown to lower cortisol and epinephrine levels that fight the immune system. The body needs to replenish its antioxidants to maintain its immune function; you will get these from a diet high in fruit and veg, protein and moderate fats that will all allow you to maintain an efficient immune system. By loading up on carbohydrates before your training, you run a lower risk of fully depleting your stores, ensuring you perform better during and do not suffer so much after running.

 

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All in all, to stay healthy this winter, prepare your body with a proper warm-up, protect your body from the conditions and ensure that you build your energy stores pre-run, replenishing your stores once you’ve finished exercising. If you follow the steps, recognise your body’s limits and manage your training wisely, your immune system will prove itself, keeping you in fine form for the duration of the difficult months.