26 Jun 2019

How to Combat the Flu According to a Personal Trainer

Health and Wellbeing Advice

The timing of this article comes at a time when people around me are being hit hard with the cold and/or flu.

I can say with all confidence that I have not had a cold or flu in several years, and I feel that there are some tips and tricks that may help from a Personal Trainers perspective to alleviate or eliminate catching a cold or the flu.

As Personal Trainer, it’s our responsibility to manage the exercise regime of our clients and to educate them on how to recognise the signs and symptoms of the cold and flu to regulate the exercise intensities, frequency and type of activities if your client wants to continue to exercise through this period.

The typical symptoms range from a sore throat, muscle aches, runny nose and the follow on effects of poor concentration, tiredness, and so on. The optimal advice would be to listen to your body and rest during this period, focusing on assisting your immune system in defending itself by attacking the foreign bacteria in the gut. A large portion of the responsibility of this immune function is to release antibodies to attack and fight the infection. During the initial stages of feeling these signs and symptoms, it is an important time to eat well and provide the immune system with the micro-nutrients it needs to defend itself. One of the biggest players to assist the immune system are Probiotics. If influenza is bad bacteria, then Probiotics is good bacteria. To simplify the matter if there are more good bacteria then bad, then the results are one of either, keeping the cold and flu at bay and or reducing the period of infection.

Exercising, on the other hand, requires modifying during this period as the immune system is fighting the infection, and carelessly performing moderate or high-intensity exercise places excessive strain on the immune system. During this period, it is more likely to overtrain and create a prolonged infection period due to the competing processes of fighting the infection while your body is recovering. Fundamentally the advice is; don’t push yourself, stay home if possible and rest for a minimum of 24 hours. On the other hand, if, like many regular exercising enthusiasts who cannot sit still during this period, then reduce the intensity to light, short duration activity. Reduce the frequency for that week or fortnight until the infection has subsided. Exercises such as stretching, walking, Pilates, and cycling, are low weight bearing and can be performed with low intensity, which can assist in flushing bacteria out of the lungs (if it’s a respiratory infection). 

It goes without saying if symptoms persist, seek medical advice, but the ultimate solution to keeping healthy at all times is to keep the cold and flu at bay. This requires balancing the following.

•    Regular exercise

•    A balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, protein and probiotics

•    Appropriate levels of sleep

•    Managing stress levels

•    Limit alcohol

•    Drink plenty of water

Most importantly, keep your environment clean. Try as best you can to clean your space and remove as much bacteria as possible.

•    Kitchens

•    Bathrooms

•    Work spaces

•    Bedroom linen

•    Regular cleaning of fridge/ freezer

I hope this helps and that you have a happy and healthy winter season for you and your family.

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