Over the last 10 to 15 years researchers have been looking into what is now dubbed the “open window.”¹ This open window refers to the time after high intensity exercise when an athlete is at a higher risk for infection. Research shows that the amount of cells responsible for fighting infection drops sharply around 2 hours post intense exercise. One study describes the correlation between respiratory infection and low versus high intensity exercise. After repeated bouts of high intensity workouts the opportunity for respiratory infection greatly increased. However, this did not occur after the moderate exercise sessions.²
Similarly, some studies show that opposed to bouts of high intensity work, moderate exercise greatly reduces the risk of infection. When comparing the amount of 4 types of white blood cells responsible for fighting infections, a study published in January 2020 showed “the (moderate exercise) intervention favored an increase in the number of immune cells, whereas the opposite occurred as a result of the (high intensity interval) intervention.”⁴
It’s no secret that exercise is key to maintaining a strong immune system. But this brings to light the importance of HOW you exercise. Some of you may have a tendency to try to get the most “bang for your buck” with each workout. Collapsing on the floor or pushing yourself to the brink of losing consciousness DOES NOT equal a successful workout. As we just heard, beating up your body with such intensity every day can cause more harm than help.
This point is more important now than ever. We strive to provide you with the proper guidance to keep you healthy and your immune system strong. The majority of our workouts are designed to keep you in the middle of your rate of perceived exertion. One easy way you can gauge how hard you are pushing your body is by paying close attention to your breathing. As your level of exertion increases it becomes more difficult to breathe through your nose and the urge to breathe through your mouth intensifies. Our coaches strategically program workouts of higher intensity and that means we don’t implement them every day of the week. We want you to exercise in a way that is not only going to benefit you, but your community too. Exercise, but exercise smart. Stay Healthy and Stay Happy!