Facial reconstruction

Search LJMU Research Online

Browse Repository | Browse E-Theses

Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes

Walsh, NP (2018) Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes. European Journal of Sport Science, 18 (6). pp. 820-831. ISSN 1536-7290

Walsh NP Invited Review_ Exercise Immunity_ REVISED_ MAIN DOCUMENT INCLUDING TITLE_EJSS_ Clean version_ 5th March 2018 with figures.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (467kB) | Preview


Numerous studies over the last 35 years report an increase in upper respiratory infection (URI) symptoms in athletes during periods of heavy training and competition. Challenges athletes face such as heavy exercise and life stress influence immune function via activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system and the resulting immunoregulatory hormones. Both innate and acquired immunity are often reported to decrease transiently in the hours after heavy exertion, typically 15-70%: prolonged heavy training sessions in particular have been shown to decrease immune function; potentially providing an 'open window' for opportunistic infections. Whether the observed changes in immunity with acute strenuous exercise or periods of heavy training account for the increased susceptibility to URI symptoms remains contentious. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that URI symptoms hinder athletic training and competition; underpinning the need to identify the prominent risk factors and appropriate countermeasures. Recent studies have identified prominent risk factors, including: intensified training in the winter; long-haul travel; low energy availability; high levels of psychological stress and anxiety; and depression. Given the shared pathways and effector limbs for the body's response to physical and psychological challenges, it is logical that psychological strain influences immunity and illness incidence in athletes under heavy training; indeed, stress and anxiety have recently been shown to modify the immune response to exercise. This mini-review provides new insights and evidence-based recommendations for coping with the various challenges that athletes encounter on immune health, including: heavy exercise; life stress; sleep disruption; environmental extremes and nutritional deficits.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in European Journal of Sport Science. Neil P. Walsh (2018) Recommendations to maintain immune health in athletes, European Journal of Sport Science, 18:6, 820-831, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1449895. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0913 Mechanical Engineering, 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2022 10:45
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:45
DOI or Identification number: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1449895
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16305

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item