How is running in the cold season affects our immune system




n the cold season to force myself to go out for a run is much more difficult than in the warm summer or a fresh spring day. Cold air is unpleasant burns the lungs and throat, and often these end runs cold. On the one hand, exercise in cold air can lead to a weakening of the immune system, but on the other, it is a workout in cold weather can lead to opposite results – strengthening of immunity and hardening of the body. Just all depends on the intensity and dosage!

According to research conducted by the online journal PLoS ONE , which publishes a variety of scientific studies, training in the cold weakens the immune system, however, with proper moderation load the body, on the contrary, on and better resists various viruses.

Experts have found that when training in the “thermoneutral” conditions (22 degrees above zero Celsius), the body produces a strong response to a wide range of tests that assess the state of the immune and endocrine function. However, during training at zero temperature, the reaction was suppressed.

Participated in the experiment 9 men. They ran on treadmills at two different temperatures, but were dressed alike: jogging shorts and t-shirts.

Researchers took blood samples to measure the immunological and endocrine responses during walking (intensity – 50% of VO2 max) and during the run (intensity – 70% of VO2 max, for many runners is considered a standard for reducing the intensity of jogging). To the participants appeared light shiver from the cold, they were put in cold chamber for 40 minutes to 2 hours before the workout.

VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake – that is the greatest amount of oxygen, expressed in ml, that person is capable of consuming over 1 min. For a healthy person, not involved in sports, the IPC is 3200 – 3500 ml / min in trained individuals IPC reaches 6000 ml / min.


Scientists believe that the increased response to norepinephrine, which was caused by pre-cooling is most likely responsible for the enhancement of the immune system that are observed during the test. Norepinephrine – a neurotransmitter responsible for our body reaction “fight or flight”. That it helps our body to prepare for the attack. It was stressed that the effect was investigated only low intensive yeast (ie when you just cool and appears goosebumps) as a strong cooling can lead to very different results.

Norepinephrine, norepinephrine, L-1- (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) -2-aminoethanol – adrenal medulla hormone and a neurotransmitter. Refers to biogenic amines, a group of catecholamines. It is a precursor of adrenaline. Considered one of the most important “mediators wakefulness.” Noradrenergic projections participate in the ascending reticular activating system.


Lead author, Dr Dominic Gagnon noted that training in the cold season lead to more intense fat burning. This means that under these conditions, easier to maintain your muscles glycogen stores that end much faster than we would like, during long runs. That is, during exercise in cold weather, the body has the opportunity to reduce the consumption of sugar, but at the same time to increase the consumption of fat reserves. And, as the stocks of sugar will be consumed slowly, this will help prevent early fatigue.

In a perfect world during the run we would have to spend only body fat and thus easy to escape for a week with almost no rest.

Another study published in 2007, to study the body’s response to viruses colds. Observations were conducted for three groups of people: elite athletes, athletes with moderate loads, and ordinary people who practically do not play sports. As soon as the first symptoms observed cold (stuffy nose, sore throat), scientists immediately took samples for the study of the state of their body.

As a result, it was found that the fastest spreading viruses among elite athletes and those who did not keep an active lifestyle. Best of all felt runners with moderate training load.

Such studies are so many and they all show that intense athletic exercises and complete its absence leads to almost identical results – a weakening of the immune system.

To avoid infection and achieve results, it is recommended:

Avoid too intense loads.
Observe sleep before workouts and mandatory rest between and after the competition.
Eat right.

So, try to avoid excessive loads, not supercool (and hence to dress), eat right, and do not forget about the rest. And then running in cold weather not only turn your immune system at full capacity, but also help get rid of extra pounds faster and easier than during summer runs;)


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