Why do we always get sick just as we go on holiday, or right after a big event?
It seems unfair doesn’t it? We have been working hard and getting everything done so we can take some well-deserved time off to recharge and relax away from work, only to get sick in the first part of a holiday.
We could see it as unfair or maybe it’s lucky. Usually we are extremely busy, putting everything into an upcoming event or project which we want desperately to work out and once it does and the pressure is off, our body allows us the time to be ill.
What makes our immune system crumble right after these peaks?
Some may blame standard concepts, like the weather, the change in seasons or the travelling of a plane to get to your holiday destination.
But we are going to investigate this concept in relation to your immune system.
Recently I had a race. It was my first ever bike racing tour which I was very excited for. While I didn’t think I put any pressure on myself, I certainly didn’t want to go getting sick. And I didn’t. Until literally three hours after my last race when I started to experience a thumping headache, sore throat and that odd feeling you get when you feel flu like symptoms.
It took me one week to fully recover.
It’s always frustrating getting sick right before a break.
What is leisure sickness?
Studies call it ‘leisure sickness’ and it can happen after events like endurance sports, difficult exams or even working flat out before going on holiday.
It is a complex situation that is based around a number of factors such as psychological stress, elevated cortisol levels and natural habits in situations such as increased or decreased alcohol intake, sugar intake, exercise and so on.
Psychological stress is associated with the metabolism of our white blood cells, which are our number one defense system in our immunity.
An increase in cortisol, which occurs in stressful situations, also creates immune balance changes. This can involve inflammation or decrease levels of cytokines that are involved in our immunity, and therefore create an imbalance where our immune system is not working quite at optimal.
So, what happens with this reaction is that when your cortisone, due to stress is increased, inflammation occurs. While you maintain that level of stress (e.g. continue training, working hard, late nights) your immune system can keep you healthy at this level and creates balance.
Unfortunately, removing stress isn’t normally a slow process and can happen in an instant, such as at 3pm on your last day of work, after finishing a race or after completing your last exam.
All of a sudden, your stress levels, and cortisol levels drop and your bodies immune system and balance is totally out of whack!
How can we stop this from repeatedly happening?
So, perhaps it’s a great opportunity to next time better plan the lead up to your break, so as not to fall in a heap.
Start a list of all the jobs at home or work you need to do before you go and delegate and offload when you can to remove the stress.
After an event complete a post event training program, which steadily brings you back to a more manageable load.
Of course, adequate sleep, a healthy diet, minimizing sugar and alcohol and maintaining your exercise all ensure you remain nice and healthy too!
Be organised and ease yourself into a break.
Extra layers to protect your immunity
If you need a boost in your body’s natural immunity, Bulk Nutrients have some great products to help!
Green Fusion is a blend of vital greens including Barley, Wheat Grass, Spirulina and Chlorella. It is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to boost your immunity and keep you in tip top shape.
It comes in powder form and makes a great green drink when mixed with water or in a smoothie and taken first thing of a morning.
Vital Pre Mix is a general use blend of vitamins and minerals to keep you in good health. While we usually recommend having a balanced diet to ensure you get all of your vitamins and minerals from that, sometimes in our busy world it can be hard to maintain.
This is a great product to give you an extra boost in valuable vitamins and minerals which you may be low in.
L Glutamine is an amino acid which can help build a strong immune system and aid in muscle recovery. It’s great for those regular gym goers or athletes who workout frequently to minimise the effects of DOMS and keep you feeling fit and strong.
For more information on any of these products head to the Bulk Nutrients website.