Fall is officially here, which means flu season is upon us! If you spend time in a gym on a regular basis, you’ll likely come into contact with the flu sooner rather than later, but all hope is not lost. Here are some tips I share with my clients to help keep the body healthy before flu strikes, and some signs that you should bag the workout to let your body recover in the event that the flu takes you down.
Let’s go PREVENTIVE first! Your diet can be a powerful weapon to fight off the flu. Green foods are the knight in shining armor when it comes to defending your immune system from the ickies that lurk about. Packed with nutrients, greens are rich in chlorophyll, enzymes and trace minerals and help to balance the body’s PH, assist blood sugar stability, release toxins and aid in digestion/absorption of nutrients. As if that wasn’t enough, they also provide a natural source of energy!
Vitamin C is the well-known supplement we’ve all come to know and love during cold and flu season, and with good reason. It’s easily accessible in a variety of foods including strawberries, cherries, citrus fruits, papayas, kiwi, bell peppers, guava, melons, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and the aforementioned leafy greens.
Zinc makes an excellent wing man during flu season, and can be found in crabs, oysters, wheat germ, pumpkin and squash seeds, peanuts, cocoa powder and dark chocolate (in case anyone NEEDS an excuse to eat chocolate! Wink, wink).
Echinacea, garlic, ginseng and elderberry are also top-performers in the flu-fighting world. If getting your nutrients from food isn’t easy for you, you can also look for many of these supplements in pill, powder, chews, or drink form.
Now, for those of you who cheaped out on the greens and got sick, it’s important to know when it’s okay to get in that regular workout, and when you should call it a day and hit the couch.
GET IT (as long as you decrease intensity and length of workout):
- Runny nose
- Minor sore throat
- Nasal congestion
COUCH IT (no excuses, get some rest and keep your sick to yourself!):
- Chest congestion
- Hacking cough
- Upset stomach
- Fatigue and Fever