Is your gym sesh affecting your immunity? Here’s how to avoid workout-induced burnout


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If you’ve ever been told to “sweat it out” while working through the stages of a nasty cold, you have the right to give them a solid “no thanks” followed by a hefty dose of real-talk.

That’s because—says Vishal Patel, director of product development at Nuun—the idea that doing an hour of HIIT will cure you of the latest seasonal virus is a myth. In fact, it could be having the opposite effect.

“High intensity workouts require higher-than-normal rates of breathing, which can impair immune cell function and can put additional stress on the body,” says Patel. “The added stress, in combination with the potential of nutrients’ delicacies such as vitamin D and antioxidants, can leave your body in a vulnerable spot when trying to defend against a cough or cold.”

That’s why athletes often cough or get a cold after heavy training periods, according to Patel. So rather than waiting for your immune system to kick into high gear during a sweat session, try a gentler method. That’s exactly what Nuun Immunity—a blend of antioxidant-rich vitamin C and echinacea and anti-inflammatory turmeric and vitamin D aimed to help support your overall immune health—was created for.

Bonus: You don’t need to wait for that first throat tickle to start defending against seasonal colds. “It can be used as a daily preventative by taking one to two tablets per day, or when you’re feeling something coming on, it’s safe to consume upwards of six tablets per day,” says Patel. Good news for your co-workers (no one wants to be seated next to the sick person) and for your regularly scheduled workout routine.

Keep scrolling for ways to boost your immune system, so you can focus on your sweat seshes.

If you’re eager for some gym time, do something light

If you do feel some sickness creeping in via a somehow stuffed-up and runny nose (who else has been there?), the key is to rest and hydrate so that you won’t stress out your system any further, says Patel.

But—and yes, there’s a but—if you feel stir-crazy from lack of movement and aren’t full-on in the throes of a cold, go for something low-impact like indoor cycling or yoga so you’re fully in charge of your tempo.

Don’t forget to fill up your water bottle

During this must-wear-a-puffer weather, you might forget that your body still needs ample hydration to keep operating at its peak potential—but it should be part of your immunity game-plan. “Consuming fluids and electrolytes will allow your body to increase blood circulation, ensuring nutrients get to where they need to go to repair and defend your immune system,” says Patel.

That’s why Nuun Immunity’s first order of business is hydration. “[That] may be the most important aspect of strengthen your immune system,” Patel says. That dry winter air is no joke—so get ahead of it.

Get your sleep schedule on track

Blame daylight savings all you want for your subpar sleeping habits, but if you really want to beat out a brutal cold, sleep is your best bet. “When you’re sleeping, your breathing and heart rates are lowered, which can allow the body to begin repairing sore muscles and strengthen the immune system,” Patel says.

That’s right, y’all: The trick to crushing your next Pilates or spin class could actually be just falling asleep at a reasonable hour.

Add more vitamin D to your life

A huge part of what makes Nuun Immunity designed to help boost your immune system is its not-so-secret ingredient: vitamin D. “[It’s] a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which helps the body defend itself against impaired immune function,” says Patel. In addition to supplementing, you can get vitamin D in egg yolks, cheese, and fatty fish like salmon.

The majority of the ways to give your immunity a helping hand can all happen before anything (re: sneezing, coughing, non-stop shivering) actually ensues—which seems like the real solve to this whole workout-burnout situation. Just remember: No HIIT until you’re feeling like your full (badass) self again.

Sponsored by Nuun

Photos: Nuun

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