March 27th, 2017
Exercising While Sick: Yes or No?
Your fitness routine is an important part of your life and you hate to miss a day. But what are you supposed to do when you wake up with a sore throat and a fever? Should you exercise anyway? This has been a point of contention between experts of certain philosophies but the medical response is that whether or not you should exercise depends totally on the situation. Just because you may not feel one hundred percent doesn't necessarily mean that you should flake out on a workout. Some doctors even say that some illnesses actually benefit from exercise. The simplest, straightest answer is if you have a fever or nausea, stay in bed; otherwise a little physical activity might be just what the doctor ordered.
Fever and nausea are two symptoms that can be highly aggravated by physical exertion. Exercise raises the body's temperature anyway and that's exactly what you don't want when you have a fever. If you're sick and have a fever, chances are that you probably won't feel like doing anything anyway, but if you simply must do something, do a few yoga postures for just a few minutes. The soothing nature of yoga may help to calm your mind as well as your body and allow you to relax until your fever breaks. For nausea, lying still is the best remedy. Trying to work out or even just incorporate some physical activity in your day when you're feeling nauseous is not a smart choice. The likely scenario is that you will aggravate your stomach, already feeling delicate, and end up sicker than before. Do yourself a favor and simply chill out. After all, the faster you recover, the sooner you'll be back in the fitness saddle. Most infectious diseases, like chicken pox, require complete rest as well. Your body is trying to fight off an infection and it can do that much more efficiently when it's not trying to do step aerobics.
For the range of other symptoms, it's usually okay to work out unless a doctor specifically tells you to refrain from physical activity. When you have a cold and are stuffy and blocked up, getting active can help break up some of the blockage in your sinuses and move it on out. Sore throats typically will not bar you from your workout unless accompanied by a fever. Be careful in cold weather, though, since the frigid air can dry out your throat even more and exacerbate the pain. Have a headache? A good aerobic workout might be just the ticket to get rid of it. Exercise increases the blood flow in your body, which may sound like a bad thing when you're talking about a headache, but it can actually help regulate the blood flow through the vessel that is causing the pain and get you feeling back to normal much faster. Exercise is also fantastic for PMS or the days that you simply feel a little blue. By increasing the amount of endorphins in your body, exercise makes you feel happier. Physical activity helps move water out of the body's tissues, so the PMS bloat will go away, letting your body return to its normal size.
While there are certainly times when you shouldn't exercise, there are many more times when it's the best idea in the world. Exercise is wonderful for dealing with stress, premenstrual syndrome, and much more. Simply the act of taking time for yourself can affirm your own self-worth and give you a boost in your confidence. Rather than reading romance novels while eating a box of chocolate from the corner drugstore, lace up your shoes and go for an invigorating walk around your neighborhood, greeting familiar faces and enjoying the scenery. You will feel much better than if you had stayed in!
The next time you're feeling less than healthy, assess your body. If you have a fever or nausea, care for yourself by going to bed and allowing your body's natural defenses to do their jobs. If it's a cold, PMS, or simply a bad day, go out and exercise anyway. Try something new like an unfamiliar sport or a different machine at the gym. Make your well being a priority and contribute to your own fitness. You may be surprised at how much better you feel after