To Exercise or Not While Sick

By Donna Stark

You woke up with a runny nose and sneezed all through breakfast. You can feel the little bit of soreness in your throat when eating. You know a cold is coming so you start popping your vitamins and hope it passes without getting worse. Because really, who has time for being sick? And not only that, but you finally got to the point in the gym where you are starting to see noticeable differences and you really don’t want to take time off to stay home with a bottle of cough syrup and a box of tissues.

So what should you do when you are feeling under the weather? Should you try to push through the discomfort and continue to exercise, or should you admit defeat at the onset of symptoms and stay home, with a remote in one hand and a glass of orange juice in the other?

To Exercise or Not?

There is a fine line between deciding to continue on with your normal routine and staying home to nurse yourself back to health. More than likely, we are faced with this scenario several times a year … do we send our child to school, do we go to work, should we make that doctor appointment? It can be hard to decide, but there does seem to be some general “rules” to help. Let’s take a look at them here.

It is OK to exercise if your symptoms “stay above your neck,” such as:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

Although these symptoms can be annoying, they shouldn’t be bad enough to stop you in your tracks, but you still should exercise at a lower intensity and continue to rest at home. If you don’t, it will be harder for your body to recover and you could actually get worse. You don’t want to add too much stress to an already overburdened system.

On the other hand, you should choose the opposite and avoid exercise if you have a fever, fatigue, and symptoms that are "below your neck," such as:

  • Coughing or chest congestion
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Upset stomach and/or stomach cramps

These “rules” aren’t set in stone (hence the quotation marks) so listen to your body, because no matter what your symptoms are, you need to take care of your health. You also need to be careful with the health of those around you, so stay home if you are contagious and keep your germs away from others.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chino Hills, Calif.

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