The pendulum of the new year has officially begun to swing. You’re motivated, empowered and reenergized at the prospect of improving, even reinventing yourself. But, inevitably, you’ll get sick. Tis the season after all. Even the strongest and healthiest of us succumb to a cold now and then. So what do you do? Do you stop your regular workouts until you get better — risking that you’ll lose motivation completely? Or, should you push through your sickness, potentially getting even sicker as a result? It turns out there is no clear cut answer as to whether you should work out when you’re sick. But, here are some key principles you can use to help guide your decision.
Determine the difference between sickness and fatigue. If you just had a long, stressful day, a trip to the gym may actually be a good idea. Exercise can counteract stress by increasing endorphins and even improving the immune system. So, if you’re feeling a little tired, check in with yourself. Do you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, or are you just wiped from a long day of staring at screens?
Are you physically able to exercise? If you have a stomach bug, exercise is probably out of the question. However, if you have a cold, you can still exercise. Just take it a little easier than usual. Usually spin for an hour? Try out a 30 minute walk instead. It may not seem like much, but 30 minutes of gentle exercise keeps your lymph flowing and can help you stay in the habit of daily exercise. If you can’t take 5 solid breaths without coughing up phlegm, you are not physically able to exercise. Go have some soup.
Should you be out in public? Gym equipment harbors viruses. If you’re coughing and sneezing a lot, it’s probably best to stay home to keep from spreading your germs to others. If you feel like you should move, try a little yoga or Pilates on your home mat. But, please be considerate of public places. Don’t try to be a beast and hit the gym when you’re in the midst of the flu. If you wouldn’t want to work out next to you, no one else will either.
A fever always means stay home. Have a fever? No questions asked, go back to bed. A fever means your body is putting serious energy into fending something off, so you need to give it all the rest and fluids you can. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Regardless of your New Year’s resolution, your health comes first. Sometimes, you can push through a workout. Sometimes, you should rest. Just keep your eyes on your goals, and you’ll come out the other end even stronger and healthier than before.
Source: Care2.com by Jordyn Cormier