COAT OF ARMOUR
THE LATEST INSTALMENT IN COLIN’S HEALTH SERIES HONES IN ON HIS IMMUNE SYSTEM
There’s been a couple of times in my career when I’ve arrived at a circuit for the weekend with a massive cold.
I mean a proper heavy cold, one where you feel heavy, feverish, short of breath and just darn right miserable. I remember having tissues handed into me mid qualifying and I also vividly remember how much more difficult those few events were. To win championships you need to bring your A-game every single time you’re in the car. Struggling with a cold isn’t going to help. Trust me.
LINE OF DEFENCE
The past five years I’ve managed to avoid catching a cold or bug during the season, with the exception of Silverstone 2019. This wasn’t down to luck or chance, but due to the adaptions I’ve made to my lifestyle and habits to mitigate against it happening. My immune system has strengthened over this time and can defend, intervene, and fight off various germs that come my way. It’s like a coat of armour, and one I’m very grateful for.
IT’S A COMPLEX SYSTEM
The immune system is precisely that – a system, not a single entity – therefore to boost it and for it to function well it requires balance and harmony. The flip side of this is the stress and strain of a motorsport season and serious competition. Any professional sportsperson will tell you the toll of stress on performance and the immune system too. A high octane life can suppress the immune system and before you know it, burn out is possible. We are also always on the move, travelling and mixing much more than your average person. Even things like selfies and signing autographs increase our chances of catching something. It was therefore a no brainer for me to take every step I can to support my immune system and try to remain as healthy as possible.
The biggest point worth noting is that there is no magic potion, the concept of one pill boosting immunity probably doesn’t make sense scientifically. The best approach is to increase immunity the healthy way in three steps
Watch what you eat
Practice good hygiene
Be mindful about what you do.
Our lungs play a crucial role in trapping foreign particles and evicting them from our bodies. The damage you can do your lungs via smoke clearly wouldn’t help in this instance.
RICH DIET OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Because I’ve struggled with IBS and digestion for years now, I really must focus on this. My body isn’t the best at absorbing nutrients, so I make sure I compensate with as much good stuff as possible. For instance, I avoid processed foods and sugars / sweeteners. This is the area you can really find help with supplements if you struggle to be disciplined.
MORE INFORMATION ON DIET
CLICK HERE to read my previous article that highlights the diet I try to follow.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Nordiq Nutrition Immune support supplement I take.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Nordiq Nutrition Vitamin D supplement i take.
EXERCISE AND KEEP YOUR WEIGHT DOWN
This isn’t rocket science. Staying fit and keeping your weight down, plays such an important role in your body. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, and protects against a variety of diseases. The increase in circulation plays a role in facilitating the immune cells to travel around our body. Exercising should become part of your routine like drinking water or brushing your teeth!
No surprise here! One of the easiest steps to take to stay healthy. Despite all my best efforts, I struggle with sleep, so have to try even harder in other areas.
CLICK HERE to read my previous article on SLEEP to understand all the extra benefits that sleep provides us!
We should all be so well drilled in this after COVID 19. To be honest, a lot of the practices introduced last year, I was following long ago in order to remain cold free for my motorsport. I’m actually glad that hand shaking has become a thing of the past, because it was always something I wasn’t particularly comfortable with. Hand washing before and after everything is an ingrained habit for me and I think it has a lot to do with why I have avoided so many colds.
There is such a close link between mind and body. Stress can therefore have an impact on the immune system. I try to make sure I have down time and engage in activities that have a positive impact on my stress levels. A good massage before and after a race weekend always helps me relax that little bit.
Water plays many important roles in your body including supporting your immune system. Be sure you’re replacing the water you lose. I use a machine in the gym that can measure the water percentage in my body. I find this a useful way of keeping track of my hydration levels.
COLD SHOWER OR SWIM
Scientific studies have found that taking a cold shower or cold water swimming actually increases the amount of white blood cells in your body. These blood cells protect your body against diseases. It wasn’t easy getting started, but a cold shower has become part of my morning routine.
Make sure to head to my news page and get an insight into other areas of my health that have been problematic in the past.Back to news