The Flu, Exercise & You!
“Jenny, I have a fever & sore throat. But I didn’t want to cancel-I think a workout will make me feel better…and I wanna sweat it out.”
Let’s analyze this whole ‘sweat it out’ theory: Does exercise actually make you feel better? Or worse?
It’s a fact that 30 minutes of daily, regular exercise strengthens the immune system. If you don’t exercise enough, the immune system is weak. Likewise, if exercise volume is very high, the immune system is also weak. So if you land in the middle with appropriately challenging, yet well-managed volumes of exercise, your immune system will function optimally. (Source: Precision Nutrition)
Will working out simply prolong the illness? Physicians say if the symptoms are above the neck (headache, sinus congestion, etc.), moderate exercise is ok. But symptoms BELOW the neck are a clear sign to stay in bed (coughing, body aches, fatigue), ESPECIALLY if a fever is present.
I say if you’re suffering with a sore throat, sneezing and teary eyes, stay away! In this germ-paranoid society, nobody wants your cooties. A few days off might be just what you need to fend off any potential worsening of your immune system. Look, a day or two on the bench isn’t going to be a long-term fitness setback!!
So what’s a fitness-oriented enthusiast to do?
- Hydrate! Drink copious amounts of water, herbal teas and squeezed juices rich in vitamins.
- Stretch and foam roll your achey muscles, or do light yoga AT HOME. (Contain yourself!)
- Get small amounts of fresh air. Take a leisurely walk and enjoy a bit of sunshine on your face.
- Consume vitamin-packed, immunity-boosting foods, like spinach, berries, fish, chicken soup, yogurt and oats.
- Rest up! Your body is telling you something! Catch up on reading or a good TV show!