Let’s start with the good news – gyms are starting to open back up.
Okay, now for the not so good news – now that you’ll be exercising indoors, around more people, you’ll have a higher risk of falling ill.
Despite what your granny may have told you about going outside without adequate clothing, its actually being indoors, and in close contact with other people, that increases your chances of catching, and passing on, an infection.
So, with the increased risk that going back to indoor gyms brings, it’s important that you do what you can to stay healthy and help strengthen your immune system.
Of course, it goes without saying that you’ll need to follow the new rules and restrictions that have been put in place by your gym:
- Keeping your distance from other members
- Sticking to your marked out training zone
- Wearing a face mask when appropriate
- Disinfecting equipment before and after every use
- Applying hand sanitisers frequently
These being just a few of the measures you may have to take at some point during your visit.
But what can you do in the days prior to your first session back to make sure your fighting fit, giving you, and those around you, the best chance of staying healthy?
Let’s have a look.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep and a healthy immune system, quite simply, go hand in hand.
A study in the ‘Journal of Experimental Medicine’ found that getting a goods night sleep can increase the number of immune boosting cells, known as T cells, which attach to and kill infected cells in your body. (1)
Sleep is also vital for helping reduce your stress levels, the importance of which, we’ll get onto in just a bit.
Ideally, you want to be aiming for a solid 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night to reap the immune boosting rewards.
Nail down your nutrition
Your granny may have been wrong about how you catch a cold, but when it came to making you eat your greens, she certainly knew what she was talking about.
Having a diet filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables is a sure fire way of providing your body with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best.
An easy way to ensure your getting a well balanced mix is to eat a variety of different coloured portions throughout the day.
Alongside this, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to help transport all the nutrients around your body, with the added benefit of improving physical performance and aiding recovery.
Take the right supplements
Whilst the food you eat should be the priority for ensuring a healthy immune system and overall wellbeing, taking supplements as an insurance policy, is a great way to keep things ticking over and remove any doubts.
Calcium and Zinc are considered as two of the most important nutrients to keep your immune system in check and functioning properly (2,3). It’s why we made “Immunity vitamin C & Zinc” pills which provides a convenient, once a day dosage, to keep you fit, healthy and protecting you against infections.
For more of an all rounder supplement our Pure Performance multivitamins contains no less than 26 essential vitamins for overall good health.
Manage your stress levels
The last few months, have of course, been stressful for us all, in many different ways, and hopefully getting back to gym will help in reducing that.
Aiming to keep our stress levels low throughout the rest of the day though, should also be a priority as research shows being exposed to stress can increase the likely hood of developing disease as well as worsening pre-existing conditions. (4)
Find what works best for you, whether its taking time out to read, getting outside for a walk or meditating, and try to incorporate it into your day to day life for a moment of relaxation.
Be sensible and keep up to date with the guidelines
We know your itching (hopefully not due to ill health) to get back to the gym and stuck into your training programme but make sure you check the government guidelines in your local area first.
If you have had symptoms within the previous 14 days then chances are you are likely going to have to postpone that gym visit. Just remember, it’s for the greater good.
If, like me, you still don’t have access to a gym because you live in Scotland or Wales…well, you’ll just have to keep the living room workouts up for a little bit longer, but at least you’ll have plenty time to implement the above.
- Dimitrov S (et al), Ga-coupled receptor signalling and sleep regulate integrin activation of human antigen-specific T cells, Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2019
- Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. Published 2017 Nov 3
- Mocchegiani E, Romeo J, Malavolta M, et al. Zinc: dietary intake and impact of supplementation on immune function in elderly. Age (Dordr). 2013;35(3)
- Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC. Current Directions in Stress and Human Immune Function. Curr Opin Psychol. 2015;5:13-17. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.007