With winter in full swing many will ask “should I exercise while sick?”
As a guide, if the illness resides above the neck (think sinus or common cold symptoms) light to moderate physical activity stimulates the immune system and helps relieve congestion. Yoga, brisk walks, or light resistance training can increase heart rate, circulation, and release fluids – all stimulating the immune system to get back to 100% in less time.
On the other hand, illness that resides below the neck (think fever, chest congestion, upset stomach) is prime time to kick back and let the immune system swing into action. Overexertion can weaken your immunity and make you feel worse, using energy for an intense workout instead of using it where it’s really needed – fighting an illness.
Avoiding high-intensity, maintaining hydration and a nutrient-dense diet is essential when the immune system is under increased stress at any level.
Most importantly, no matter the type of illness, reduce the spread of germs as much as possible and listen to your body. Rest days are an important part of any training schedule!
Andrews, Ryan. M.S., RD. Precision Nutrition, “Exercise When Sick: Should you sweat it out? Or rest and recover?”
Laskowski, Edward R., M.D. Mayo Clinic, “Is it OK to exercise if I have a cold?”
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