If you have ever run a marathon, you know that the effort can cause elation, exhaustion, achy legs, blackened toenails and an overwhelming urge to eat.
But it is unlikely to have made you vulnerable to colds or other illnesses afterward, according to a myth-busting new review of the latest science about immunity and endurance exercise.
The review concludes that, contrary to widespread belief, a long, tiring workout or race can amplify immune responses, not suppress them.
For decades, most researchers, coaches, athletes and athletes’ mothers have been convinced that a single long, hard distance race or other strenuous activity can leave the body so fatigued that it becomes unable to fight off cold viruses and other microbes that cause infections.
Science supported this idea. Beginning in the 1980s, a number of studies of marathon and ultramarathon runners had found that many of them reported developing colds in the days and weeks immediately after their race. Their incidence of illness was much higher than among their nonrunning family members or the general population.
More here – The New York Times