Heavy training can wear your body down. Here's what you need to know about keeping your immune system strong through swim, bike, and run.

‘Tis the season for all kinds of illneses (and not just Coronavirus, there’s still cold, flu, and other upper respiratory illnesses (URI) to be aware of), that put a damper on our workouts and threaten our fitness. It is well-reported that during periods of heavy training and racing, athletes are more susceptible to, and may experience, an increase in URI. A “window of altered immunity” following prolonged or heavy exertion exists (that may last between three and 72 hours), wherein many components of the immune health system exhibit change.

This window is an opportunity for viruses and bacteria to gain a foothold. In addition, factors such as low energy availability and high levels of stress and anxiety also put athletes at risk. So, what can we do from a nutritional, training, and lifestyle standpoint to combat getting sick? Read on for some recommendations to maintain immune health and keep running strong!

Nutrition

There are several nutritional strategies that you can follow to improve your immunity as an athlete. These include a handful of key supplements. Those that have STRONG support in the literature are vitamin D3, probiotics, vitamin C, and zinc lozenges.

Training 

Managing overall stress also plays a large part in immune health. Some training principles to abide by, that will ultimately keep you healthy, both, from injuries and from URI include:

Lifestyle

And finally, managing overall stress and following some simple principles, with regards to travel and sleep, can also hugely impact your body’s immunity. It is a well-known and understood concept that psychological stress has a large influence on immunity and resistance to infection.

A focus on nutrition, sound training principles/planning, and overall stress-management can be a great start towards fortifying your immunity and overall well-being.

This article originally appeared on Trainingpeaks.com.