EXERCISE & IMMUNE FUNCTION

Our immune system is a collection of cells, tissues and molecules that provide us with resistance to infection and toxins. The function of our immune system is important for health and wellbeing, and can be affected by many things.

At The Injury Clinic, we see a lot of people with high training loads. Your training load can have a significant effect on your immune function. If you’ve become unwell post-event or during your training program… this might be why.

 

HIGH TRAINING LOADS

Heavy training schedules or endurance competitions are examples of extreme physical stress that can lead to immunosuppression. This reduction in immune function can increase our susceptibility to infection.

Unfortunately, there is a risk of illness associated with exercise. See graph below.

Immunity

This model suggests that moderate amounts of physical exercise will lower your risk of infection when compared to none, or very little physical exercise. However, high volumes of strenuous exercise may suppress the immune system and increase risk of infection.

 

It has been shown that post-exercise, our immune function can be impaired for a period of time. This impairment is at it’s greatest when the exercise is continuous, prolonged (>1.5 hours), or moderate to high intensity (70-77% of VO2 max) and performed without food intake.

The decrease in immunity observed following such exercise has a variable duration, and may last between 3 and 72 hours. During this time, you are at a greater risk of of subclinical and clinical infection.

 

Unfortunately, there is no single method that completely eliminates the risk of infection, however there are several effective ways to reduce the risk during post-exercise immunosuppression.

One way is to use appropriate immune-nutritional support. Nutritional agents have the capacity to attenuate immune changes and inflammation following intensive exercise…

If you need advice on Sports Nutrition, The Injury Clinic’s Tim Stewart is an accredited Sports Dietitian and is here to provide all the advice you need on nutrition & immune function.

So if you’ve been battling with finding the right nutrition for your training load, give the clinic a call on (03) 5229 3911 and let Tim help you to find the right solution.

See below for some more info on Tim…

IMMUNE FUNCTION

TIM STEWART

Tim has been working as Clinical and Sports Dietitian for the past 6 years across both Victoria & Queensland. He is an Accredited Sports Dietitian, having worked to gain this qualification through Sports Dietitians Australia. He has over 6 years’ experience working with elite, sub-elite and recreational athletes.

Tim is experienced in working with individual athletes (recreational to elite) across a variety of sports including endurance running, heptathlon, swimming and horse racing. Tim has also worked extensively with team sports including: AFL/VFL Football and State Level Netball.

Tim has previously worked at the Carlton Football Club, which involved monitoring of player body composition through DXA scanning, hydration testing, development of game day nutrition processes, menu reviews and nutrition education as well as cooking classes for the 1st year players.

Tim is currently working at La Trobe University as a lecturer and will be developing their “Sports Nutrition” subject in 2017. He is also looking to begin his research degree in 2017 in the area of Sports Nutrition.

Tim is a highly motivated & passionate individual. He has played both Basketball and Cricket at a representative level and has recently completed The Melbourne Marathon. These experiences assist him in his understanding of the complexities and challenges that are involved in sports nutrition.

Tim is here to simplify sports nutrition. He is realistic with his plans, and will work with you to help you improve your performance & achieve your goals.

REFERENCES

Giammattei, C., Banducci, R., Pierami, G., Tomasi, A. Acute Effect of Exercise on Immunity. Aspetar Sports Medicine Journal, 4(2), 306-312.

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