Can exercise make you ill?

I am ill. After the title of my last post this is somewhat ironic. And when I am ill, I do what any internet-savvy hypercondriac would do – I Google my symptoms to make sure I am not at death’s door.

If the best type of debilitating condition meant that you weren’t allowed to be around other people (i.e. at work) but that fresh air and exercise (i.e. cycling) were needed, and the worst type meant that it wasn’t contagious and you could just about struggle into work by borrowing your wife’s car, then I would definitely be suffering from the worst type of illness.

From further paranoid hunting on the triple-W, research suggests that although moderate exercise may help protect athletes from sickness, training for too long at too high an intensity appears to make athletes more susceptible to illness. Lab research shows that athletes exercising at a high intensity for 90 minutes or more experience a steep drop in immune function that can last up to 24 hours. The drop in immune function appears to be caused by the elevation of stress hormones released during and following heavy exertion. This is what exercise immunologists believe allows viruses already in the body to spread and gain a foothold.

This image was clearly chosen to attract more sympathy

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4 thoughts on “Can exercise make you ill?

  1. AndrewGills says:

    Drop in immune system from intense exercise? Sounds like an excuse to moderate my exercise 😉

    Humour that won’t translate well in an online comment aside – I hope you get well soon.

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