This winter many of us will battle seasonal colds or flu. This week’s question has to do with working out when you are sick.
” I have been battling an upper respiratory infection for much of January. There are days that I feel like I can workout and days that I can’t. Are there any rules that I should follow about working out when I am sick? “
The general rule of thumb is that if a cold is below your neck (in your chest) that you should avoid rigorous activity. If respiration is compromised due to alveolar inflammation or restriction you should take it easy and not exacerbate the condition. Intense activity can actually worsen the condition as it is possible for fluid to accumulate in the lungs. If your symptoms are severe or last longer than a week, I advise you to see a doctor.
Use the guidelines below to help you make a sound decision when you are sick
Do not exercise if:
1. You are running a fever
2. Your breathing is compromised at rest
3. You are feeling lightheaded or dizzy
4. You are dehydrated
5. Your body is telling you to rest
You may exercise if:
1. Your cold symptoms are entirely above the neck (a head cold)
2. You are able to to simple tasks without becoming short of breath
3. Exercise makes you feel better and does not exacerbate symptoms such as coughing
4. You are well rested and hydrated
In short, use your judgment. If you have difficulty breathing climbing a flight of stairs, you should rest. Chances are that if you take a couple of days rest, you will be able to come back faster and closer to 100%. Pushing through illness may prolong it by increasing the stress on your immune system.
If you exercise when you are sick, pull back the intensity. View exercise as a therapeutic intervention to increase blood flow and circulation. Within a few days you will be back to setting PR’s.
Please continue to send your questions to email@example.com
Next week’s question will be about training for sectional and regional competitions.