It's the first few days of freezing cold weather here in D.C., so top of mind for me right now is how to avoid getting the winter flu. I always seem to get sick when the weather changes. Turns out, one thing I can do to ward off sickness is not run a marathon, according to this article that came out today on ScienceDaily's website.
Well, good, I wasn't planning on it.
While a little bit of exercise has been proven to keep you healthier and avoid the common cold or flu, studies reported a 2-6 fold increase in risk of developing an upper respiratory infection after you engage in prolonged strenuous exercise. There is a lot of science in it, but I guess endurance activities can turn down Natural Killer cell activity - those cells help your body fight viral infections. It's interesting, because every time I have trained for a half marathon (I've done 4 or 5), I have gotten sick just as my mileage is at the highest point (about two weeks before). I have never thought about it, but maybe this shows that my mom was right (as always). If you overdo it, you'll probably get sick.