The war on the common cold is the difference between a productive week of work, and taking unnecessary time-off, which costs money. In addition, continual colds can cut into a fitness plan. No doctor suggests physical exertion when you’re sick—not only does this place other gym-goers at risk to catch your cold, but it can destabilize your immune system, prolong a cold, or help it to develop into a worse disease like pneumonia. In other words, colds require rest.
And on the topic of rest, this is also one of the best ways to prevent the cold from ever occurring. Sleep researchers at the UCLA report that a drastic change in sleep patterns damages the immune system. This occurs when a person suddenly drops their sleep-levels a significant (40% or more) amount—such as 8 hours to 5 or 6 hours, lest your immune system drop by as much as 50%. In addition, the same researchers report that a full 8 hours of sleep optimizes the immune system the most. In addition, for body builders, the extra sleep provides more time for muscle growth.
But what to do when the colds symptoms already arrive? Canadian researchers have discovered a compound in green tea called EGCG that stops viral replication. And the best way to implement it?—consume large amounts of green tea as you first incur symptoms. A couple of cups of tea, steeped for about 10 minutes, may keep you frequenting the urinal for a little while—but the dose of EGCG may give your immune system a necessary kick-start to help fight the cold and lessen your time in bed.
Next, your fitness plan may also be attributing to your immune system. Research conducted at the University of Massachusetts strongly suggests that the amount of physical exercise undertaken is directly related to the prevention of colds, flu, and other viruses. So, your frequent trips to the gym have created yet another advantage.
Finally, don’t forget to take preventative measures and practice good hygienic habits to stop cold viruses from entering your body—and to keep your own colds from infecting other people. Wipe down your gym instruments with sanitized antibacterial wraps, and avoid touching mucous membranes like nose, eyes and mouth with your fingers—while also washing hands frequently. All of these, plus a solid cold-fighting defensive strategy, will keep you prepared for the entire germ season to stay active and healthy.