J-Curve and Respiratory Distress

It has been a frequent wonder to most runners especially those coming from a sedentary lifestyle that when they started running as a means of keeping themselves fit, a lot of ailments and injuries started to crop out.  When supposedly exercise activities like running keep their respiratory system much stronger, they became prone to lung infections like coughs and colds.

The J-Curve will give us the information as to why this decreased respiratory resistance occurs with running.  Here the amount or intensity of exercise is graphed in relation to the risk of upper respiratory tract infection (urti) as shown in various research and studies conducted.


It is evident studying this graph that indeed exercise, or running exercise in our case, does improve our cardio-pulmonary condition and strength, moderate exercise that is.  At a certain point in the graph, urti cases start to have an upswing vis-à-vis increasing exercise intensity.  This just shows that above average amount and intensity of running would likely depress our resistance to respiratory distress than improve it further.  There is that tipping point where anything more is destructive.

Each individual though has his/her own level of what is average exertion and what is above average.  So what is hard to one may just be a stroll in the park to another.  It is important that individually, we must already have an idea of what is hard for us given our current level of fitness.  We must already know how many times a week we set out to run and for how long that we feel most comfortable and uplifted as opposed to stressed out.

Given this body IQ, we equip ourselves with some degree of power to further enhance our health.  But on the other end, if we stick to what is comfortable for so long then we risk improving as a runner and a competitive one at that.  The best barometer on how much more we need to push ourselves is the 10% rule where we are allowed to increase mileage or intensity by 10% each week.  Then again this is not for everybody.  To some this might be too much given the responsibilities at work and family, while for others much less.  We are allowed to conservatively tweak this rule given our own body’s reaction to an added load.

When Stress Sets In

The lure of prestige and popularity among peers is very hard to resist indeed.  To be able to run longer at the soonest than running peers, to be able to level up at break neck pace either in distance, speed or in incorporating multiple sports all at once, seemed to be the very motivation for most.  When the adrenalin rush and the beginner’s “atat” factor are just too hard to control, it is at this point when we find ourselves at the tipping end of the J-Curve.  When our body starts to produce stress toxins and become more susceptible to common cough and colds.

Being motivated to level up is not bad per se.  What is not good is in the degree and/or intensified time frame with which the leveling up is done, when the 10% rule is being disregarded.  Or maybe when one had been conservative in training but work and family responsibilities are proving to be a handful, then the importance of recovery should get our top most priority and consideration.

Recovery, an Important Factor in Stress Management

Sometimes rest is just not enough.  When it is all we need to bring stability and recovery back to our system then when not yet indulged in an intensive work out such as running, now, it is a different story all together.  A different approach to stress management should be considered in conjunction to rest/sleep.  It is at this point when what we eat before, during and after matters.  Unfortunately, not everything our body needs in order to hasten the recovery process can be had in the regular Filipino diet.

Certain vitamins, mineral and organic substances have been proven as alleviants to stress – muscle and nerve fatigue busters, and respiratory and circulatory system enhancers and improvers.  The effective amount and the daily recommended intake are sometimes not satisfied with the regular food that we take.   Supplementation carrying these substances should be enforced from formulated food, drinks and/or capsules.

Necessary Components of a Recovery Formulated Supplementation

Right after an intense work-out:

There is that so called glycogen replenishment window of 30-45 minutes after an intense work out of say more than an hour where the body craves for sugar and protein in order to restore muscular wear and tear as well as food for the overworked organs aside from the muscles.  The ideal carbohydrate-protein ratio for an ideal nutrient supplementation is 3:1.

Vitamins, minerals and organic substances for everyday intake:

  1. Anti-Oxidants Vitamins A,C,E and Zinc – prevents cellular damage resulting to cancer, aging and various degenerative diseases;
  2. Iron – helps in keeping the blood oxygenated thereby helping in combating fatigue;
  3. Vitamin B-Complex and Folic Acid – helps in keeping the nerves healthy and properly functioning thus avoiding weakness and limb numbness, general weakness and/or shortness of breath;
  4. Ginseng – is widely used to lower cholesterol, increase energy and endurance, reduce fatigue and the effects of stress, and prevent infections. Ginseng is one of the most effective anti-aging supplements, with the capability of alleviating some major effects of aging such as degeneration of the blood system, and increasing mental and physical capacity;
  5. Royal Jelly – boosts energy and supports the immune system.


Enervon Activ_01

Best Recovery 1-2 Punch Available in the Market

I personally am not fond of a very complicated diet and supplementation regimen.  Not only are they complicated to assimilate in everyday regular existence with many things going on at work and home happening all at the same time, they are expensive as well which could mean that regular minimum rate earners cannot afford them.  Given these things, chances are they are not practical for most of us runners.

With the increasing popularity of running among Filipino populace, many major nutritional manufacturers and multinational drug corporations are more than willing to come up with products with quality and complete nutritional components but right smack in the budget of most regular running enthusiasts as well.

One company that heeded this need is United Laboratories Inc. (Unilab), the very company behind trusted and quality but inexpensive brands that have been part of each Filipino’s life since decades and decades back.  It has come up with 2 products, one a powdered chocolate flavored protein milk formulation for glycogen replenishment and the other a complete vitamins and minerals capsule for daily intake of active bodies.

  1. Enervon HP – Best glycogen replenishment product right after intensive work outs.  I drink this also as a hot chocolate right before sleeping for nocturnal repair and replenishment.  The warm drink helps put me to sleep also.
  2. Enervon Activ – Best vitamin and mineral supplementation whose components are deliberately constituted and measured to address recovery needs of the body.


A good source of protein replenishment after a strenuous exercise. Contains the right 3:1 proportion of carbohydrate to protein for a perfect glycogen replenishment drink.
Good everyday vitamins and minerals source to control stress and hasten recovery.
Enervon Activ_03
Note the necessary vitamins and minerals plus Royal Jelly and Ginseng present for efficient stress management of the body in recommended amounts.

I personally got acquainted with these products right off my numerous loot bags from joining running races at almost weekly frequency.  With numerous products that I found and tested from the freebies given in most races, there are some I found true to what they promised.  Two of these are the products mentioned.  In fact I have a blog article specially dedicated to these noteworthy loot finds here.

This article is in conjuction with my previously posted article on stress management during workday run routines.