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Exercise and Illness

INSHAPE NEWS OPINION

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Diana Robinson – Nutritionist

Illness of any kind can put your body under immense strain. So, if you have a particularly high intensity regime with sustained lengths of training, it is really important to make sure you support your immune system the best you can. Training at an élite level puts enormous strain on your body, and can often lead to immunosuppression due to the increased damage of nutrients. If you do not sufficiently replace what is used, you will run your self into the ground and risk frequent infections.

Why are Nutrients Important?

As always, it’s important to replenish cells with the correct balance of macro and micronutrients. That is, consuming adequate protein, carbohydrates and fats pre and post workout and for during your weekly routine (think 80/20 split or 90/10 for the more ambitious). However, if you are pushing your body to the limits, you may need to think about supplementing your diet with immune-boosting supplements to prevent burn out.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is one of the most common supplements used by fitness fanatics to combat immunosuppression following intense training. This amino acid is in your muscles and gets used when you workout. Therefore, if you’re working out regularly and hard, then your body chews through glutamine faster. So, if glutamine replenishment doesn’t occur, then your immune system may suffer. Glutamine also helps to heal and seal the gut lining, and as we know, a permeable gut lining can lead to many more health conditions than just lowered immunity.

How do Probiotics Help?

Probiotics are crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system.  Your gut manufactures about 80% of your body’s immune cells, so if you don’t have enough of the good bacteria, you simply won’t make enough immune cells to fend off illness. Probiotics are of particular importance if you are training during the summer months. High temperatures when training cause the gut to overheat, which in turn leads to a ‘die off’ effect of the good bacteria. Have you ever heard of or experienced ‘runners trots’? This lucid bowel action occurs due to overheating of the gut, killing off the good bacteria and leading to a bad bacteria imbalance. When there are too many bad bacteria, your gut purges itself to get rid of the toxins.

Diet and Gut Health

In summary, as always you should consume a healthy diet and replenish your cells after intense training. Place high importance on gut health, with the use of supplements where necessary. Also, focus on fermented gut-friendly foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha tea and kefir yoghurt.

DianaRobinson_PhotoDiana Robinson is a Melbourne based nutritionist working in clinical practice with a special interest in food intolerance, fitness and mood disorders.

Diana graduated from Melbourne’s Endeavour College of Natural Health with a Bachelor Degree in Health Science – Nutritional Medicine. She is a firm believer in living life to the full and taking care of your body by feeding it healthy, nutritious food but not forgetting to nourish your mental wellbeing also.

Diana encourages patients to seek enjoyment from the food they eat rather than having a negative relationship with food. When you learn to eat right, you will learn that food is your friend and not your enemy. 

You can follow her Instagram for inspiration and recipes @dianar_nutrition.

Disclaimer: The information published in this column are the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have about any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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  1. Peter Rusell says:

    I’ve never thought about being sick and doing a workout. Sometimes when I have a cold I still push myself. Maybe this is why my colds take so long to go away. This article makes a lot of sense. Cheers.

    Like

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