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Three Ways to Avoid Winter Colds and Flu in Your CrossFit Group

CrossFit beats the Flu

Anyone who has a weekly CrossFit exercise habit/addiction knows that the winter months can be brutal. Not because it’s cold. Nope. Winters are tough because, invariably, somebody shows up to work out with a cold or even flu symptoms and the entire Box is exposed to their germs.

The fact that CrossFit workouts are designed to be rigorous, putting extreme stress on the bodies of the participants further exacerbates potential for winter colds and flu spreading. Germs love to hop on an exhausted body.  In fact, Typhoid Mary was a model citizen compared to someone with a cold, huffing and puffing, tossing around kettlebells spreading germs in a CrossFit session!

A recent article in the Washington Post noted that each year, Americans suffer more than a billion colds and between 5 and 20 percent get the flu. That’s a lot of sneezing and wheezing, but there are three things you can do to avoid picking up a winter cold from your CrossFit workout.

Terri DeNeui on CrossFit

Terri DeNeui, is a nurse practitioner, founder of the highly successful EVEXIAS Medical Centers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and (like you) a maniac about health and wellness. As such, she is the perfect resource for tips on avoiding the colds and flu this winter…especially in a group exercise setting such as your CrossFit class.

Tip #1 – Let’s Give Prevention a Hand!

Washing Hands after CrossFit

It’s true what your grandmother said. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and hand-washing is the best prevention.

“Wash your hands rigorously with soap and hot water a dozen times a day if you can,” Terri said. “While I’m not a big fan of hand-sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes, if you can’t get to some good old soap and water, slather on some of this stuff.  It’s easy for germs that can cause colds and flu to be passed on in a CrossFit box, where participants are rotating through equipment and surfaces because ‘fomites’ allow these germs live and then they are passed to the rest of the body via the hands.”

Tip #2 - Up the Antioxidants

Vitamins to beat the Flu

Vitamin D is the key.

Antioxidants such as vitamin D, C and E remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism,” Terri noted. “There’s some recent research that suggests that taking 50,000 IUs of vitamin D, for three days after first noticing symptoms of a cold (achy, stuffiness, sneezing) will knock out the cold. In my personal case, I up my intake of vitamin D every year during the winter months as a preventative measure. When I was an ER nurse, I used this vitamin D strategy and I never got sick, in spite of being exposed to literally hundreds of patients. At a minimum, CrossFit athletes should be taking a minimum of 10,000 IUs of vitamin D every day during the winter. Zinc and Echinacea are also excellent antivirals and can help mitigate a cold when taken in the early stages.”

Tip #3 – If You’re Sick, Stay Home!

Stay at home when sick

If you feel like you’re coming down with something, odds are good that you are. So, do everyone (including yourself) a favor and stay home and rest. OK?

“When you think about it, when someone comes to their workout, in spite of being sick, it’s very rude,” she said. “If you’re sick, don’t go to work, don’t go to school and for goodness sake, don’t go to a CrossFit (or any other) workout. By staying away, not only does this honor your fellow CrossFitters, but it honors your own body. With a cold or the flu, you are run-down and going through a vigorous workout just adds more stress to your body. When you’re sick, you will get sicker if you don’t allow your body to rest and recuperate. Plus, you will likely make someone else, as sick as you!”

Do you have any tips for avoiding colds and flu this winter? Contact us and we will share with our readers.