Exercise and Illness: Should You Still Sweat Out?

You’re not in your best condition. Should you still exercise when you’re sick or just stay at home and rest to recover? How to decide it?

The answer depends on what ills you. Use a neck check rule to determine level of activity during a respiratory illness. Breaking a sweat is generally considered safe if your symptoms are all above the neck, like:

• Sneezing
• Minor sore throat
• Runny nose
• Nasal congestion
• Tearing eyes

If your symptoms are below the neck, such as:

• Coughing
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Body aches
• Fever
• Fatigue

It’s best to take meds and stay in bed. Forget the running shoes until those symptoms subside.

Fever is the limiting factor. Exercising and raising your body temperature internally if you already have a fever is dangerous. It can make you even sicker. High temperatures (101 degrees Fahrenheit and up) have been linked to heart damage. And exercising through a fever can raise the risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that may result in heart dysfunction, failure or sudden death. It’s not common, but it is possible — a good reason not to push yourself. If you have a fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, sit this one out.

Okay, so you’re only having a common cold. What’s the best and safest exercise to do anyway?

1. Walking

Since you’re feeling under the weather, consider on taking low intensity workouts. Reduce the intensity and length of your workout. Instead of going for a run, you can take a walk. A 20-minute walk may help improve your cold symptoms.

2. Jogging

As long as jogging is part of your regular routine, there's no reason you need to skip it just because of a mild head cold. Running is a natural decongestant, and it can help clear your head and feel normal again. Some active runners even say that running helps them feel better when they're sick.

Remember, if you’ve got a fever or a stomach bug, be sure to rest. And contagious folks should just workout at home, do what you can for exercise there.

In some cases, light to moderate activity may actually help you feel better. Always listen to your body. Do what you can do, and if you can't do it, then don't, don’t push yourself.

photo: ivillage.ca

Popular Posts