The ultimate guide to beating man-flu

There’s an 80 per cent greater chance of spending a cold-induced spell on the sidelines this winter, but not with our preventative workshop…

1 Post-match immune booster

“After the match, replenish carbohydrate and protein stores as soon as possible to strengthen immunity,” says Lucy-Ann Prideaux of Simply Nutrition. “I’d choose a smoothie made from natural yoghurt, a spoon of shelled hemp seeds, pomegranate or cherry juice and fresh berries and a banana.”

2 No spanking!

Whipping your team-mate in the showers may seem like bonding, but it’s a no-no when looking to maintain a strong immune system. The NHS say the bacteria on our skin can become infected and is easily passed on by towels, particularly in people with weakened immune systems.

More after the break

3 Squeeze out the bad

“Massage pushes out toxins and stimulates a positive immune response from your nervous system,” says osteopath Benjamin Palmer. “Massage also relaxes you, and the less run down a footballer is, the less likely they are to catch a cold.”

4 Listen to jazz

Research shows that listening to 30 minutes of jazz boosts levels of immunoglobulin, a protein that defends against infection. So it’s goodbye Kanye, hello Chet Baker.

5 Keep things circulating

Training jackets are great for keeping out the rain, but choose the wrong one and you’ll create a humid environment for germs to thrive. “Wear one with venting,” says Dr Simon Hodder, ergonomics expert at Loughborough University. “Because you’re running, your body will pump air around the inside. Or remember to give the elastic on the cuffs a tug to create an air exchange.”

6 Return of the nasal opener

Robbie Fowler didn’t wear that nasal strip on his nose as a fashion statement – it was designed to open his airways. Critics questioned the science, but a study by Dr Beat Villiger showed footballers suffering from exertion asthma benefited from those nose-widening strips of plastic, especially in the cold.

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