Working Out While Under the Weather
Flu season is on its way to becoming an epidemic in the U.S. and while a flu shot is preventative, it won’t always help you escape a winter cold. While your dedication to hit the gym every day is admirable, there are some symptoms of sickness that should make you think twice. Please use common sense. If your symptoms are severe, skip the exercise and see your doctor. Otherwise, follow these guidelines to decide when you’d be better off staying at home, getting rest and keeping your germs to yourself.
Do a neck check. You can exercise while sick if your symptoms are all above the neck, like a runny nose, a sore throat, nasal congestion and tearing eyes. Of course, you should always listen to your body and take the intensity of your workout down a bit if your regular pace feels too strenuous.
If it’s below, don’t go. If you have any symptoms below the neck, such as body aches, chills, coughing, fatigue, stomach problems or diarrhea, it’s advised to take it easy until you're feeling better. And if you're running a fever, no matter where your symptoms are, put off exercising until your temperature returns to normal.
Follow common courtesy. Just as no one likes gym goers who sweat on equipment and don’t clean the machines, you won’t make any friends having a nonstop sneezing or coughing spell. If you suspect you’re contagious, follow common courtesy and stay home. If you do go while under the weather, use hand sanitizer and wipe down all machines after use.
Listen to your body. When suffering from congestion or low energy, exercise often helps you feel better. Know your limits and take the intensity down a notch. A brisk walk can sometimes unclog the sinuses better than an afternoon on the couch. Gentle exercise will rev up circulation and counteract that sluggish, rundown feeling. Exercising while sick is a personal decision and you’re the best judge of what your body can handle.
To avoid getting sick remember to keep up a healthy lifestyle without running yourself down. Take time to relax, get seven hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and wash your hands—a lot.