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Digital Subscriptions > Women’s Running > December 2018 > IMMUNITY-PROOF YOUR RUN

IMMUNITY-PROOF YOUR RUN

SUPERCHARGE YOUR DEFENCES THIS WINTER WITH A HEALTHY DIET, SAYS NUTRITIONIST LOUISE PYNE

WINTER HEALTH

No one wants pesky coughs and colds to sideline their training, but with flu season in full swing the odds of getting sick are higher than ever. And while it’s long been thought that endurance sports such as long-distance running can suppress immunity, new research shows that it can actually improve your body’s ability to sideline coughs and colds.

Scientists at the University of Bath discovered that during exercise immunity cells, such as natural killer cells which fend off infection, can increase by up to 10 times. Post-workout, some cells can then decrease dramatically, sometimes falling to levels lower than prior to exercise. This change can last for several hours and previously scientists believed this drop in immune cells signified immune suppression. It’s now thought however, that dip is a result of cells migrating to other sites in the body, which are more likely to become infected such as the lungs, rather than being destroyed as previously thought.

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