Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Do's and Don't of Exercising When You're Sick

Uh-Oh... you wake up with a scratchy throat and a runny nose! You haven't missed a workout in months. Like most highly motivated exercisers, you want to workout even when you are sick. What should you do? The first question to ask yourself is, "Do I really need to exercise?" After all, missing a workout or two is not the end of the world. To help you in your Shakespearean-like quandary, "To exercise or not to exercise", follow these recommendations:

Above the Neck, What The Heck
If you have minor symptoms "above the neck", such as a stuffy or runny nose, sore throat or sneezing, moderate exercise is generally safe. In fact, some research has found that symptoms "above the neck" may actually be temporarily relieved by exercise. A light workout can clear your stuffed-up head. If you decide to workout, start at half speed. If you feel better after 10 minutes or so, increase the intensity and finish the workout. However, if your legs feel like you are walking in quicksand, your head is pounding and you just feel miserable, STOP!

If it's in your Chest, You'd Better Rest
If you have chest congestion, a hacking cough, muscle aches or are vomiting you should avoid exercising until your symptoms disappear. Exercising when you are sick can cause complications and delay recovery.

Fever Hot...Definitely Not!
Overdoing it when you have systemic symptoms like a fever can be very serious, increasing the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart wall), heat stroke (excessive body temperature) and heart failure. In other words... Don't be Stupid! Stay in bed and let your body rest.

Easy Does It
You can resume exercising when "below-the-neck" symptoms subside. However, when recovering from an illness that prevented you from working out, it is important to ease back into activity gradually. A good rule of thumb is to exercise for 2 days at a lower-than-normal intensity for each day you were sick.

Prevention is Always Best
To maintain a highly efficient immune system be sure you are getting adequate rest, drinking plenty of fluids and consuming a well-balanced diet! And most importantly, make sure you are washing your hands!

Common Sense Is the Rule of the Day
If you are not feeling well, listen to your body. Give your body the time it needs to rest and recover. Remember, if you are not feeling well, take a break instead of breaking a sweat!

So in Conclusion....
Above the neck what the heck,
In your chest, you'd better rest,
Fever hot, definitely not!

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