Updated: Feb 15
As an athlete, caring for your health should be one of your main priorities. But beyond keeping yourself in the best shape physically, protecting yourself from sickness is another big aspect of keeping you at the top of your game. With flu season being particularly brutal recently, more people have gotten sick earlier than usual, and hospitalization rates from the flu have increased compared to previous years. Strengthening your immunity is a must for avoiding sickness and keeping you at peak performance. There are many ways to go about preventing the flu, but here are some tips that can benefit both your bodily and athletic needs.
Practice proper breathing exercises
Deep breathing can help reduce your stress and enhance your immune system—a simple way to boost the body’s protection. Though it isn’t a quick fix, it can do a lot to help your immunity, and there are many ways to practice it. One of the most popular ways to practice proper breathing is via yoga. Yoga promotes physical benefits by teaching athletes how to increase their oxygen intake in the body up to five times. Proper breathing through yoga can also reduce anxiety and stress, increasing your overall fitness level. Regularly practicing yoga or meditation in your training or recovery regimen can help you get more used to deep breathing, which can help more oxygenated blood circulate and increase the production of cells that can fight harmful particles in the body.
Improve your diet
The food you eat is one of the most important parts of boosting your athletic performance, but the right foods that are chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals can also ward off the flu and other illnesses. Vitamins C is responsible for the coordination of the body’s disease-fighting cells, and you can incorporate more of it into your diet by eating citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits or vegetables like kale and spinach. Zinc also prevents cold viruses from binding and replicating in your nose’s mucous membrane, and foods like shellfish, grass-fed meats, and veggies like squash and pumpkin can give you that extra protection. It’s likely that you’re already following a specific food plan to meet your training goals and demands, but coordinating with a dietician to add more vitamin-boosting food into your diet can ensure you’re getting the right nutrition to avoid sickness and help you be your best.
Practice good hygiene
Other than protecting yourself by improving your health habits, proper hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases. Properly hand washing before and after meals, after using the bathroom, and after coming into contact with dirt is most likely a common practice, but it should also be done after coughing or sneezing, touching pets, and visiting sick loved ones. You should also clean your hands after touching gym or training equipment, especially if they are being used by other people. If you don’t have time or access to wash your hands, carrying alcohol or hand sanitizer can help kill bacteria when you’re on the go. It’s also important to wash your hands thoroughly, making sure your fingernails, wrists, and the spaces between your fingers are also cleaned.
Other than hand washing regularly and properly, the right materials can help protect you and keep you in peak athletic condition. The iON Detox + Clean Pack has everything you need to help you in training preparation and recovery, and also keeps you clean, fresh, and safe from injury. As the flu makes its rounds, we can help you boost your immunity while helping you perform at your best.
===== Author bio: Susan Jody Willis is a freelance writer and blogger focused on financial matters and advice. She mainly writes about money-making and management in the sports industry. Susan enjoys running marathons and watching movies with her family in her free time.