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Since I became a parent I'm permanently sick. During the summer it was quite well which means from June until November I wasn't sick once but before June and also since November now I'm sick all the time. One could say I'm sick for 1-2 weeks, recover maybe a week to really ensure I'm good, do sports 1-2x and get sick again. With being sick I mean colds, coughing, sniffing and so on.

I guess becoming sick so often happens because of two things:

  • My child is around 18 months old and goes into the kindergarten with approx. 120 others
  • Sports, especially with high intensity, reduces the immune system for several hours after sports. This article on a sound German medical journal platform specifies that, overall, apparently high intensity sports even harms the immune system while moderate sports strengthens it.

A colleague of mine seems to underpin this as he goes to work by bike each day (20 km in total) but doing 4-5x high intensity sports in parallel in his free time. And he also got kids who are sick constantly together with his wife. But he never is.. That's why I wanna' add some cardio workout to my week schedule but in general my question is: How do (especially professional) athletes train or rather work when being parents/sick?

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  • I think you forgot a link when you said "this article" in your second bullet point.
    – Alec
    Nov 29, 2022 at 10:33
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    Maybe a silly question, but: do you eat well? Are you sleeping enough? Those are big factors in not getting so sick so often, and therefore help with physical activity / recovery.
    – Luciano
    Nov 29, 2022 at 10:45
  • @Luciano I would say yes but on the other hand I'm not sure whether this really holds true. All I can say is that I notice a big change when I'm doing regularly sports or when not (like when being sick). A big change means I'm probably eating twice the amount. Sleeping is hard to say with a young kid,.. but I'm feeling ok most of the time.
    – Ben
    Nov 29, 2022 at 10:47
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    This is a good question but also a tough one. In my experience it's kind of a trial by error puzzle across diet, sleep, stress, vitamins/minerals, workout load, and so on. Plus, don't underestimate how disruptive a baby and exposure to child viruses are. Nov 30, 2022 at 6:36
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    @Ben remember that professional athletes are professional athletes, they don't have a day job on top of family and training (since training IS their day job), and in addition to that they're often fairly young, have access to a dedicated team of medical personnel, likely good genetics, quite long experience of the training they're doing, etc. This means that copying whatever the pros do usually doesn't work that well for the rest of us, and may in fact be bad. It's still an interesting question though (+1), but the answer might not be useful other than to satisfy curiosity.
    – gustafc
    Nov 30, 2022 at 11:17

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I went exactly what you're going through, as a parent I've been sick for 8 weeks straight at a time. The best thing to do is prevent getting sick to begin with. Here are some things that help...

First of all, your body can only handle so much stress, specifically cortisol, the stress hormone. As a parent, you're usually lacking sleep or fatigued from running around with a toddler and working, sometimes a physical job. Decrease the intensity/frequency of your workouts. If you use to workout 6 days a week, try 4. If you're getting sick frequently, try 3 day full body workout. You can also rotate between a 2 or 3 day routine. If your child is sick, you can try to do 1 full body routine only that week or do a deload, that way your immune system doesn't get too overworked where it can't fight. This is very important, as your immune system seems to weaken or be more vulnerable as a sign you're overtraining, or sometimes it just isn't as strong. I'd highly recommend a deloading session that week your child is sick or lower your intensity either by using less days or lifting less heavy.

Get at least 9 hours of sleep, especially during the sick weeks when child is sick. Getting less, especially 8 will decrease your potential to fight sicknesses

Take some multivitamins and some vitamin C and zinc every day. Vitamin C doesn't make a huge difference, unless you take it preventatively, and even it might only reduce sick time by a day or two.

If you are sick, you can try to do a very light session (depending how sick you are), just to keep your body use to the exercises. This is arguable, and I wouldn't do anything if you have a fever. If you have lingering symptoms above the neck and no fever, you can usually workout.

Professional athletes also have a team of doctors on hand usually to do checks or keep them from getting sick. They also 'work' outside unless they do indoor sports, in which case they are only around team members, whereas a normal adult will be around hundreds of people every day as will their child. I wouldn't compare yourself to a professional athlete, as what you see on tv is not always achievable by an average person.

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  • Thanks for your input! These are some really useful advices and yes, you're right. When my child is sick I'm not paying much attention to that and try to get the most of me healthy time instead which means I'm doing even 3 hours sessions (two boxing classes in a row). And the last two times it always hit me 2-3 after days that.. I will pay attention to your input, thank you!
    – Ben
    Dec 1, 2022 at 6:43

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