Should You Exercise When You Are Sick?

sneezeTis’ the season!  Of Cold and Flu.  Yuck!  It seems like everyone is catching the nasty bug that’s going around.  And nothing can stop you in your fitness tracks faster than the flu or a horrible head cold.  So, to exercise, or not to exercise when you’re sick?  Let’s answer that question.

Simply put, NO.  When your body is sick, your immune system is working overtime to try and heal and repair itself.  Make it work harder by going out for your regular morning run or heading to the gym (or Body OverHALL) to crank out a tough resistance training workout, and you’re just asking to stay sick longer and set yourself back.

So skip the workout until you are feeling better.  You don’t have to wait until you are 100%, but you should ease back into your routine.  Start easy by just completing one to two sets of your resistance training routine at a lighter intensity, or just going out for a walk instead of a run.  More than anything you should just focus on getting your body to move at a lighter intensity level.

While sick, your main focus should be on rest and your nutrition.  Get some extra sleep if at all possible.  And here are some things to add in to your diet that can help aid in your recovery (if you are to the point of eating and keeping food down and not praying to the porcelain gods):

  1.  Chicken soup – As long as you make your own and it’s not from the can.  Use chopped chicken breast, diced or pressed garlic, thyme, carrots, celery, and dark greens like spinach or kale.
  2. Garlic – nicknamed “The Poor Man’s Medicine,” garlic has lots of great healing properties to it and can even help support the immune system.  When food doesn’t sound good but you have that still have that growling stomach, try heating a cup of chicken broth, ½ tsp dried thyme, and 1 to 2 cloves of pressed or crushed garlic.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let it cool until you can slowly sip from a mug. We swear by this little concoction in our house!
  3. Keep hydrated.  Drink lots of water and green tea.  We all know this so I’m not going to elaborate on it. ;)  However I do recommend trying to stay away from juice if possible.
  4. Stay away from sugar as much as possible.  Sugar, which is found in fruit juices (which is why I recommend staying away from it) is just all around bad for you and can cause inflammation in the body and slow down its ability to fight bacteria.
  5. Stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods as soon as you get your appetite back.  Things like berries, whole oats or oat bran, and Greek yogurt are all beneficial in helping you get and stay healthy.

Hopefully you’re able to avoid the bug going around during the season of sickness, but if not, keep these tips in mind to help you to a speedy recovery.

 

Be Well,

Heather Hall

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