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Alan Tseng
VIP
from Singapore asked a question

How does too much exercise affect immunity?

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Sport Medicine Health & Fitness TCM

I have recently started going to the gym again regularly for strength training. After going 5 days in a row, I have started to feel slightly feverish. I would like to find out whether too much exercise can adversely affect immunity, and make one more prone to falling ill and catching a bug? Thank you!

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

Hi Alan, 

Thank you for submitting such an intriguing question. This may be a little profound to explain but I will try my best. 

We all know that the body takes time to recover after every exercise and logically, high frequency and intensity exercises requires more time. When you do not allow sufficient time for the body to repair, it stresses out. One possible explanation is when your body responds to stress by secreting cortisol (stress hormone) which tide you over this stressful period. However, prolonged cortisol secretion can have detrimental effect which makes you more susceptible to falling sick. 

In TCM, Qi is the vital energy behind all physiological activities and chemical reactions, which of course includes the immune system. When you over-exert yourself by exercising excessively, you are actually exhaust your Qi (Yes, too much is no good, which is why moderation is key, sometimes less is more). The deficient Qi will then be unable to defend against pathogens. 

What you need to do is get to ample rest, drink more water, have a balanced diet. Wait tilll you feel well enough for the next session. 

Wishing you good health!

With regards, 
Physician Lee

Consult Doctor
0 129 views 0 Doctors agree 16 Nov 2018

Dear Alan,

Thanks for your question.  You might be interested in looking into a phenomenon called over training syndrome.  

In this condition when you train harder, it leads to worsening performance and it’s becomes a negative cycle.  Often alongside this loss of performance, you can experience illnesses such as coughs, colds or other viral illnesses.  

While 5 days of training will probably not cause this, if you over-train over a prolonged time it can lead to these issues.  It might be worth seeing a sports physician who can look at your training load and adjust accordingly.

I hope this helps.

Bw

Dr Dinesh 

Consult Doctor
0 56 views 0 Doctors agree 29 Nov 2018
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