Should I exercise when I am sick?

The kiddos have been back to school for about a month. Every year when that happens, the sicknesses start presenting themselves, don’t they?

So, should you go to the gym and continue with your intense workouts?

When you’re sick and your body is trying to recover, the extra stress of an intense workout might just be more than your body can handle or need. Adding extra stress to your body in the form of intense workouts may actually hinder your recovery.

When recovering from an illness, the best forms of exercise might be stretching, walking or riding a bike outdoors or doing other light forms of activity like gardening or light housework, non-intense forms of yoga and tai chi. These activities are actually proven to boost your immunity.

When you have a cold, doing more intense forms of exercise that cause your heart rate to raise significantly, and may lead to trouble breathing, or becoming dizzy or lightheaded.

If you are recovering from a gastrointestinal illness, your energy levels will most likely be less than normal as many of the nutrients your body needs have been depleted. This may cause extra fatigue during your workout, leaving you at higher risk for injury.

Fever is a sure sign of immune suppression, so ask yourself is a workout what my body really needs today or should I rest?

Exercise is definitely a stressor to the immune system. Too much of a good thing, is not necessarily always a good thing! Your body needs ample recovery time.

Dr. John Berardi from Precision Nutrition, sums it up pretty well!

“In the end, here’s the pattern:
-Consistent, moderate exercise and resistance training can strengthen the immune system over time. So, by all means, train hard while you’re healthy.
-But single high intensity or long duration exercise sessions can interfere with immune function. So take it easy when you’re feeling sick.”

Check out this infographic below and learn more:

Be proactive by eating whole, healthy foods like greens and berries to increase the amount of antioxidants in your body to help you fight off infections.

Chicken noodle soup?  Old wives tale?  Who knows?  But the warmth of the broth and the extra liquids can’t hurt!  It certainly helps a stuffy nose!

Increased sleep and stress-reduction techniques will also help improve your immune system, so think about ways to improve these areas as well.

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