Working Out While Sick
Your alarm clock is buzzing and you’re about to jump out of bed to go for your morning run. But the moment you open your eyes you feel something is wrong. Your nose is stuffy and your head hurts. In short, you just feel awful.
So what do you do in a situation like this? Do you roll over and go back to sleep or do you rush to your medicine cabinet for some relief? What about your daily workout? Do you still plan on moving or are you going to rest for a few days? You can’t work out when you’re sick, right?
Honestly, there is still plenty you can do and you’ll probably feel better after a little workout. You most likely won’t feel up for your usual workout, but with this essential guide to working out while sick, you can still burn a few of your daily calories and possibly even shorten the length your illness.
Check Your Symptoms
If all you’ve got is a bit of a head cold and maybe a sore throat, then a little bit of light exercise will probably do you a world of good. However, if your head cold includes a fever and various aches and pains, you’re probably better off staying put for the day. Similarly, if your problems are of a gastrointestinal nature you definitely don’t want to leave the house. The last thing you want is to be caught out away from home with explosive symptoms.
As a general rule of thumb, any illness that affects you above the neck is not too serious so you should be able to get some light activity in. Below the neck, it’s probably best to take a break.
Keep It Light
If you’re not feeling well, don’t go for your usual 10-mile run or hit the gym for a heavy session. Your immune system is already compromised from the effects of whatever is ailing you and you don’t want to burden your system unnecessarily. Some light activity is extremely beneficial, but you need to conserve some of your body’s energy to recover. If all of your energy is being used to exercise, you won’t have enough to recuperate and you may prolong the length of your illness.
Keep it simple and light. Put on your walking shoes and go for a leisurely walk or ride your mountain bike. Fifteen minutes to half an hour is just enough time to get a little active without overburdening your immune system.
Keep Your Food Light Too
Whether you are trying to recover from a head cold or working out, your body needs fuel. Natural foods like fruit and vegetables are the best for you. They are not going to be heavy on your digestive system, but they deliver precious nutrients which are important for your recovery and every day body functions. As cliché as it may sound, a bowl of chicken soup is good for your immune system and as it’s also the ultimate comfort food, you’ll feel better just by consuming a bowl. The nutrients in the soup will also boost your immune system and give you some much-needed energy.
Check The Weather
Fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for your overall wellbeing, even if you are feeling a little sick. But if you are feeling you should avoid outdoor activity in wet and windy conditions. The wind and rain will make you feel colder than normal and you may make your symptoms a lot worse. You are better off staying indoors and trying something like yoga or tai chi if the weather is bad.
Workout When You Are Healthy
The onset of a head cold or any other ailment is not the day to start your workout routine. However, if you are already working out on a regular basis, keep going. Regular exercise is excellent for your overall health and wellbeing. It is a great way to boost your natural energy levels and it improves your mood as well. This is excellent at developing a positive attitude and outlook on life which are all necessary for a healthy immune system. You’ll also be avoiding a lot of weight-related illnesses such as diabetes.
Listen To Your Body
The symptoms you feel when you are sick are your body’s natural way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to slow down. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bury yourself under a pile of blankets. If you feel up to it, you can engage in a little bit of light activity like walking, yoga or any other type of exercise that won’t wear you out too much. However, if you feel absolutely awful, a day in bed with lots of fluids and light food will not undo all of the months you have invested in getting into shape. When you do feel really sick, you usually feel very tired and weak as well. In this case, your body is telling you to rest so it can use its energy to help you recover.
Talk To Your Doctor
Obviously, you’re not going to rush to your doctor over something as trivial as a runny nose, but if you are really feeling sick and aren’t sure of what you need to do, talk to your doctor. Not all doctors will automatically reach for their prescription pads the moment you walk in the door and many doctors these days can suggest natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals. Your doctor will also be able to advise you on how much exercise is appropriate or when to take a break from your usual workout routine.
Don’t Rest For Too Long
Resting is essential for your body when you are recovering from an illness, but you don’t want to spend too much time in bed. There is a bit of an equation regarding how long it takes you to recover from bed rest. Basically, for every day you spend in bed, it takes about twice that time for you to fully recuperate. If you don’t get out of bed for a week, it will equate to three weeks of little or no activity. Rest as often as you need to when you’re feeling sick, but try and move around a little as well.