5 Tips to Ward Off Illness This Flu Season

By on November 1, 2015
5 Tips to Ward Off Illness This Flu Season

By Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM  –

With flu season upon us, it’s important to know how to keep your body as healthy as possible during this time of year in order to avoid getting sick all together. ACE’s Chief Science Officer, Cedric X. Bryant has compiled a list of quick tips to help you ward off illness this flu season and ensure optimal immune system function. 

  • Eat a well-balanced diet—The immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals for optimal function. However, at this time, there is no good data to support supplementation beyond 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowances.
  • Avoid rapid weight loss—Low-calorie diets, long-term fasting and rapid weight loss have been shown to impair immune function. Losing weight while training heavily is not good for the immune system.
  • Get adequate sleep—Major sleep disruptions (getting three hours less than normal) have been linked to immune suppression. While there is no magic number, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults should get 7-8 hours per night (the amount of sleep our bodies need for optimal performance). Getting enough rest also allows you to deal more effectively with stress.
  • Avoid overtraining and chronic fatigue—Space vigorous workouts and race events as far apart as possible. Listen to your body and don’t push beyond your ability to recover.
  • Manage your stress levels—Chronic stress has been linked to suppression of immune system function. In the time-pressured, hectic environments that many of us live, developing effective stress management strategies and techniques can go a long way in helping us stay healthy during cold and flu season. Exercise can help to reduce anxiety, induce relaxation, make you feel better about yourself and also encourage the adoption of other healthy behaviors. Activities such as yoga, meditation, deep-breathing and tai-chi are other documented ways to relax and reduce stress.  Below is an additional library of resources for your to review on the topics of stress management:


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Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, Chief Science Officer at ACE

As Chief Science Officer at the American Council on Exercise, Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, is a national and international lecturer, writer, subject-matter expert and member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Obesity Solutions Roundtable, the Aspen Institute’s Youth Fitness Roundtable, the National Physical Activity Plan Healthcare Sector Expert Panel, and Vice-Chair of the Physical Activity Working Group of the Arthritis Foundation’s Osteoarthritis Action Alliance. Dr. Bryant helps to advance ACE’s mission and impact by staying at the forefront of applied physiological research, exercise training methods and health and fitness trends.

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5 Tips to Ward Off Illness This Flu Season