We’re smack in the middle of cold and flu season. And one of the questions my clients are asking – should I work out, even though I’m feeling under the weather?
The answer – it depends.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed with the flu, and believe me, it hit hard. I was out for a good week and certainly did not feel like doing much. It set me back a bit and I’m just now getting back into my regular workout routine.
So if you’re sick and wondering about working out – one of the first things to consider is – what are your symptoms? Most viruses make themselves known with a combination of things – fatigue, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, fever; maybe even nausea and vomiting. Obviously, with the more severe symptoms, you’re not going to feel like doing much. But, with the lesser symptoms, if you have the energy, then go ahead.
That being said, keep these things in mind: if your nose and ears are stuffed up, your balance may be off and it will obviously be harder to breathe. If you have a fever, you will be more prone to dehydration.
The bottom line – take it easy and rest if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Fever over 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Elevated heart rate
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Severe muscle fatigue and extreme tiredness
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Feelings of dizziness or faintness when you stand
If you are feeling just a bit off, it’s probably safe to proceed with your workout but it’s a good idea to lower the intensity. This is really a time to listen to what your body is saying.
Some trainers suggest that you do what’s called a “neck check.” Basically, are your symptoms above the neck – are you sneezing, do you have a sore throat, a runny nose? If so, then it’s probably okay to work out. Keeping in mind that you probably can’t do your regular workout. Remember – it’s going to be hard to breathe.
If your symptoms are below the neck – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea – it would be better to take it easy. Rest. Recuperate. Take a few days off. Get well.
Regular exercise can do wonders for your immune system, but, when you’re sick, working out can make you feel worse and slow down your recovery.
Just listen to your body and know that if you decide to rest, you can get right back to it when you’re well.