May 20, 2024
Stay Healthy

During winter, it is common to catch colds. Colds affect all people, but probably cause the greatest irritation in people who have an interest in exercise. This is due, among other things, to the fact that it not recommended exercising with cold symptoms. Depending on the bacteria or virus causing the cold, a cold usually lasts for 5–14 days. If you also count the time to get back to the same training form as before the cold. We are instead talking about weeks. Stay Healthy.

So that you don’t have to take annoying breaks from your training or miss competitions. That you have signed up for. We give tips in the article on how you can reduce the risk of catching a cold. As usual, the information in the article comes from scientific studies.

Stay Healthy Summary – exercise and colds

The flu season lasts from week 40 to week 20 with a peak with the highest number of cases around week 7. During this period, there is also the greatest risk of catching a common cold.

Good hand hygiene, mouth protection, good sleeping habits, and zinc supplementation have a scientifically proven effective in preventing colds.

Food supplements in the form of Probiotics, vitamin C, and vitamin D, and how you plan. Your harder training sessions can reduce the risk of catching a cold.

Zinc and Vitamin C have proven to reduce the illness’s duration if you unexpectedly catch a cold.

During which period of the year is the greatest risk of catching a cold?

There are no official statistics on colds but what we can check instead are statistics regarding the influenza virus. Since 2015, influenza has been subject to notification according to the Infection Protection Act! And as a result, there are plenty of statistics regarding influenza. A virus causes influenza, and it produces symptoms similar to a common cold. But the symptoms are often stronger and more prolonged. The flu season lasts from week 40 to week 20! Usually with a peak of the highest number of cases around week 7. It is reasonable to assume that the risk of catching a cold is highest during this period. Unfortunately, this period coincides with events like Vasaloppet’s winter week, which annually arranged during week 8 or week 9. It is therefore a challenge to stay healthy for the Vasaloppet and its seeding race!

Actions and tricks to reduce the risk of catching a cold when exercising hard

According to scientific studies, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of catching a cold. There are very few measures that have a statistically significant effect, of the ones we include here, “hand hygiene and hygiene items”, “sleep” and “zinc” have the most evidence behind them. Other measures that we mention can have a positive effect on preventing colds.

Hand hygiene and hygiene articles

In a meta-analysis from 2011, the authors concluded that “physical measures” such as washing hands, sanitizing hands, using disinfectants, and wearing masks and gloves reduced the risk of catching a cold. In the meta-analysis, the authors reviewed 67 studies in the field where the majority of studies indicated that these measures had a large effect.

Stay Healthy For Sleep

Several studies have shown that the length and quality of sleep significantly impact susceptibility to colds. Simply put, people who sleep fewer hours or have poorer sleep quality have a significantly greater risk of catching a cold when exposed to a cold virus. In one study, 17.2% of those who slept more than 7 hours per night and were exposed to the cold virus got a cold. The corresponding figure for those who slept less was significantly higher. Of the people who slept an average of 5 to 6 hours per night, 30% caught colds and of those who slept less than 5 hours per night, 45.2% caught colds when exposed to the cold virus.

Based on the study results, it can be concluded that people who exercise should reasonably prioritize good sleep to stay healthy. Of course, good sleep habits also have many other benefits, such as improved recovery after training, which means that you as an athlete should strive to establish a functioning sleep routine.

Stay Healthy For Zinc

In several studies conducted on children, it has been concluded that 10 to 15 mg of zinc per day reduces the risk of catching a cold. The children who received dietary supplements in the form of zinc had fewer days of absence from preschool. One of the studies also observed that 33% of the children who received nutritional supplements in the form of zinc did not catch a cold during the study period, compared to only 14% in the control group who stayed healthy. Although the studies focused on children, the authors argue that the results should apply to adults.

Studies have shown that dietary supplements in the form of zinc also have a positive effect on the intensity of colds. Taking zinc within 24 hours of the first symptoms can reduce the length of the cold by up to 40%. This can be useful for those who want to resume training more quickly after a cold. The studies indicate that a dose of over 75 mg per day is required during the cold to achieve the desired effect.

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