Exercising When You're Sick
By Sara Butler
With cold and flu season here, it's always good to get a little refresher on the dos and don'ts of exercise. After all, exercise is one way to help support a healthy immune system that helps you fight off disease, but there's definitely a tipping point when you're sick between an amount of exercise that helps you get well and exercise that will only make your condition worse. Here are a few tips to help you know how to exercise if you get sick this season.
When It's Safe
Exercise can be helpful to your immune system, but once you actually become sick, it may not be the best option. It's OK to perform some light exercise if you're suffering from the following symptoms -- in fact, it may even make you feel better if you have:
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Ear ache
- Sore throat
- Sinus pressure
Remember, light exercise is the key. If you're training for a marathon, then you may want to hang up your sneakers until you feel better. Stick to a nice walk in the meantime.
When You Should Rest
There are a few symptoms that definitely mean it's time to rest and hydrate your body until you feel better, leaving those exercise shoes in the closet where they belong. If you have these symptoms, resist the urge to exercise:
- Muscle aches
- Chest tightness
The general rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are above the neck, then go for it! If they're below the neck, then take a much-deserved rest day.
Should You Go to the Gym?
The gym is great, but it can also be a cesspool of germs. In fact, you may have caught your present illness there to begin with! It's probably a good bet to stay home from the gym if you're feeling under the weather, even if you feel well enough to exercise. It's just the considerate thing to do.
Consider doing a workout video at home or going for a walk. When you do return, wash your hands before and after your workout and be sure to wipe down the machines you use to help reduce the spread of germs.
Just because you feel a little crummy doesn't mean you need to stay in bed until you feel better. But the most important thing to do is listen to your body and if you feel like a rest day is in order, take it. You'll probably get back on the workout wagon faster with a shorter recovery if you do!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sterling, Va.