Do you get sick more often when you are running? (Read 585 times)

    Just curious if anyone else has had an experience like me.  Hard to pinpoint exactly, but it seems that I end up with more cold and sinus problems now that I'm running than back when I was pretty much a couch potato.


    Not sure if it is just due to me being outside a couple hundred hours more than before, the fact that I go out an run sometimes when conditions aren't exactly ideal (dust, wind, cold, heat, etc.), or the alternative may be that I'm just getting old.


    I used to go several years without any kind of being sick, now it seems like I'm one of the first ones to catch anything going around.  I caught the stomach bug a couple weeks ago from my nephew, but my wife and my son didn't and they were around him way more than me.  Sitting here right now struggling with some kind of cold/sinus/allergy deal and getting tired of it.  I think this is the 3rd or 4th time this year.


    I don't think I'm running enough to really be wearing myself out or compromising my immune system or anything like that, just tired of being sick.


    Any thoughts on the subject?


    Thanks, Nathan

    Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

    Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)

      Hmmm, I've found the opposite..but I also quit smoking the same time I started running...and I seemed to always be sick before I started running and it lasted forever because of the smoking (I coughed for weeks...sometimes months after a cold or flu). I also eat 4 apples (or more) a day...so...if 1 keeps the doctor away...


      I do tend to get a cold once a year...but that's only after making a poor mistake like kissing a sick husband or shaking someone's hand at a luncheon that has the swine flu (oh, but they didn't tell you they were sick).


      I wash my hands pretty obsessively too (now - post swine flu incident).

        My diet really hasn't changed very much.  Lots of fruits and veggies, etc.  If anything my diet has improved.


        I have lost 30lbs in the last 18 months, I get cold much easier than I used to when I had a nice layer of fat for insulation.  I've never owned many long sleeved shirts, don't own a sweater or sweat pants, I'm thinking of buying some now though.  At 6'2" and 205lbs I don't think many would consider me to be underweight by any stretch of the imagination though.


        My changes all tend to tell me I should be heathier, but I keep getting these nagging colds and sinus problems.

        Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

        Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)


        Squidward Bike Rider

          I agree with knifey...since I've quit smoking and took up running, I haven't been sick nearly as much as I was back when I still smoked.  I've been lucky so far this year. *knock on wood*


          Chief Unicorn Officer

            I also feel like I get sick less.


            How old is your son?  If he's younger than, say, high school age, he could be a big germ transmitter!  Kids are always sick and hanging around with other sick kids!

            Mile 5:49 - 5K 19:58 - 10K 43:06 - HM 1:36:54

              Yeah, I was going to mention the kid(s) too...little germ factories.

                I also get sick less often now that I'm running.  The one exception is I'll sometimes catch stuff right after I run a half marathon--I think the longer events like that temporarily knock down my immune system so I'm more susceptible.  Even that only happens once or maybe twice a year though and that's typically the only time I get sick.  So if you are getting sick more, I would take a look at whether maybe you need a few more rest days (or maybe more easy days if you're running a lot of hard workouts), maybe you are wearing yourself out more than you think.  Or examine your diet--I know you said you eat a lot of fruits and veggies, but take a look at whether you're getting enough of the other food groups as well and that you're not missing any key nutrients, etc.


                Squidward Bike Rider

                  Just realized that my husband is currently not feeling well.  We think he caught it from our niece and nephew when we were at their house on Christmas Day...hopefully, I won't catch it myself.


                    Low to moderate amounts of running is/are good for us.  Beyond a point, maybe not as much (diminishing returns from a "be healthy" standpoint).  One of the things that comes with really long runs and some hardcore work is a slightly biffed immune system.  If a person with a biffed immune system comes into contact with someone carrying Little Beasties, some stuff can happen.  Particularly if said person is not as diligent about washing hands etc.


                    Ok, that was fun to say.


                    When I'm in "normal healthy mode" I tend to get sniffles and whatnot sometimes.  Never seemed to correlate with higher mileage vs not-so-high mileage.  Nor being around kiddos or not.  And I always wash my hands.  I don't eat a lot of apples.  Eh, it's random :-).


                    Wash your hands.


                      I generally agree with SRL, to a point, running helps alot!  Hey, that person sitting on the couch and sedentary day after day will be more prone to illnesses on average.


                      On the other hand, if your normal running days are 5, 6, 11 miles max, and then you opt to do a 26 mile Marathon, you can expect that your immune system will be weakened in the days after the Marathon.


                      A mix of both, common sense applies.  But I certainly want to be on the side of running and catching the illness after a really tough run, as opposed to being that person that catches several illnesses a year sitting each day on the couch.

                      The Plan '15 →   ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

                        My son did just turn 6 and is in his first year of kindergarten so that may have something to do with it.


                        I probably don't wash my hands as often as I should, but that hasn't changed anytime recently.

                        Age: 49 Weight: 202 Height: 6'3" (Goal weight 195)

                        Current PR's:  Mara 3:14:36* (2017); HM 1:36:13 (2017); 10K 43:59 (2014); 5K 21:12 (2016)

                          It's been my experience that since I started running consistently a few years back I get sick a LOT less often.

                          Sit on a potato pan, Otis.


                            The 1st year I started running, I got a lot of colds.  My SO did as well.  We started running together.  I don't know if being new to running in general & winter running in particular made us more susceptible to cold viruses, or if there were just more bugs going around at that time.  Since then, however, I think I have been much healthier now that I run.


                            (Also, good grief, that is an enormous elk!  It looks very different from the elk we have here in MT.  Did you eat him?)

                              I would probably put the blame on the son starting kindergarten rather than your running.  I don't have kids, but have a lot of friends/coworkers who do, and things like that (starting a new school, or sometimes just starting back to school in general) brings a lot of new germs into the house so even if your immune system is in good shape you're likely to get sick a bit more often.  You might try incorporating a bit more handwashing into your routine, as well as more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, TV remotes, etc.  None of that will help with airborne germs that get sneezed/coughed on you, but at least you can reduce your exposure somewhat by keeping your hands and the things they touch cleaner.

                                I share your experience with getting cold/chills easily, also having lost 30+ lbs of blubber over the last 18 mos  but I agree with others, this is the healthiest year I've had in many, and i like to think diet and running help.


                                any chance you have more allergies / rhinitis as a result of being outside a lot more?


                                only other thought is to make sure you get plenty of sleep and fluids if you feel a cold coming on.  sleep is genius!