Hit the gym

<p>Health and Fitness Zone</p>

As record levels of flu cases spread across America, many people are asking how to avoid getting sick.

The common cold, most sore throats and the seasonal flu are viruses, which can’t be cured with antibiotics. This really shouldn’t be new information for anyone – it’s a long-documented medical fact.

In fact, statistics show that the abuse of taking antibiotics when not needed can make the antibiotics less responsive to bacterial infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.

Over the last decade, almost every type of bacteria has become stronger and less responsive to antibiotic treatment when it really is needed.

There is a simple solution when trying to avoid the seasonal bugs floating around Grant County and the rest of the country this year. Countless studies indicate that physically active people, who get regular exercise, are far less likely to get sick than sedentary individuals.

Research shows that active people not only get sick less, but when they do, they have reduced symptoms. This seems to be basic common sense: Hit the gym, get sick less. Tell your friends. If they say they know about this, ask them if they are exercising on a regular basis. Unfortunately, the answer is usually “no.”

To enhance your immune system through the long winter, you should keep your exercise regime consistent. When you hit the gym on a regular basis, or go for that long bike ride, your body will produce energy needed to support your body’s physical needs as well as energy to support and boost your immune system.

When you find excuses to not exercise, your body has a reason to not produce that extra boost for fighting off sickness.

If you want to have better odds for fighting off this season’s bugs, make strength training and aerobic exercise a regular part of your life.

After you become active, your body will most likely require a nutritional overhaul, which will aid in immune system activity.

With new demands, your body will be telling you, through hunger and specific appetites, what it requires. In a nutshell, keep your diet balanced (make sure you have adequate amounts of Vitamin C and D, and zinc); your cravings are usually correct; and break up your meals into many smaller meals throughout the day. This will help your body maintain your workout intensity and provide the nutrients that have the most immunity-boosting power.

Focus on getting active-nutrition will be the focus next time.

Raymond Field is the sports and outdoors writer for the Blue Mountain Eagle.

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