The winter season increases the likelihood of viral infections, including influenza and various rhinoviruses (the common cold). Nobody likes missing training time due to illness, and numerous strategies for staying healthy are well known – eating green vegetables, maintaining vitamin D levels, sleeping enough, keeping stress levels low, and regularly exercising.
Elevated core temp boosts immunity
The immune-enhancing effects of exercise can be further boosted by elevating your core body temperature somewhat above normal. Reaching a core temp range of 38.0°--38.3° C (100.4°--100.9° F) gives a temporary immunity boost that fights viral and bacterial infections. While the physiological processes are complex and not fully understood, the illness-fighting ability of a slightly elevated core temperature has long been known in the medical world.
Raising core temp with indoor training
Winter condition cause many athletes to shift to indoor training. These indoor conditions can be very conducive to elevating your core temp to the zone that gives health benefits. It’s a zone high enough to cause most people to sweat heavily, but low enough to not be unpleasant. Because it’s a commonly reached temperature, we call this temperature range the “workout zone”.
During a low-intensity workout at normal indoor temperatures, long sleeves and long pants may be necessary to reach the workout zone temperatures. A higher intensity workout will likely bring your core temp into the workout zone with no additional clothing. Of course, wearing your CORE sensor will help you stay in this zone. For health benefits, there’s no need to exceed the workout zone. (The next higher zone, the heat training zone, is for athletic performance gains and heat adaption.)
Tracking thermal load with the CORE mobile app
How much time is needed with your core temp in the workout zone to get immune-boosting benefits? For most people, it’s enough to have 2–3 sessions per week, with 30 minutes “in zone” each time. So, 60—90 minutes per week of thermal load is a good target.
CORE’s new mobile app lets you easily track the amount of time you spend in the workout zone. A bar chart shows, by week, how much time you were in the workout zone each day of that week. Another chart shows your cumulative time in workout zone by the week, month, or year.
Wintertime viruses can seriously derail your training. Many athletes see the indoor season as simply a time to log consistent, low-intensity workouts to maintain base fitness. If you elevate your core temp during these workouts, they can also help you fight viruses and keep training without interruption.