SHOULD YOU EXERCISE WHEN YOU ARE ILL?

SHOULD YOU EXERCISE WHEN YOU ARE ILL?

You’re not feeling great and know you’ve got a cold coming. Do you skip the workout or sweat the illness out at the gym? The answer depends on several factors. Ask yourself the following to help make your decision.

1. WHAT ARE YOUR SYMPTOMS?

If you’ve got a raging temperature then hitting the gym is a big no-no. Anything over 101 degrees is asking for rest. The danger is that if you already have a fever then exercising will raise your internal body temperature even further and make you even sicker.

If you have any bronchial tightness, it’s also not advisable to workout. Some experts say if the symptoms are above the neck (sore throat, sneezing, blocked nose) it’s okay to workout. But if you are coughing, have aches, pains, fever and tiredness then put your gym bag away for a few days.

But on the other hand, there’s actually no reason why you should lie around on the sofa at the first cough or sniffle. Non-strenuous exercise has actually been shown to boost the body’s ability to fight illness.

A session of moderate exercise appears to boost the adaptive immune system, and regular resistance training is believed to stimulate our innate immunity.

2. WHAT SORT OF EXERCISE ARE YOU DOING?

Firstly, there is a big difference between gentle exercise and ‘working out’. An intense exercise routine – when we’re breathing hard and sweating – stimulates a stress reaction in the body. This is usually fine, and is precisely what builds fitness.

But when we’re unwell, a tough workout can be too much for our immune systems to cope with. This is because our adaptive immune system can be depressed for hours after, making us more susceptible to infections.

Instead, take the intensity down and do some low-key activity such as yoga, pilates, gentle biking, swimming or walking. These workouts aren’t intense enough to stress our body’s immunity body, but may boost the body’s ability to fight illness. Perhaps avoid spreading your germs in the gym if you’re Mr. Sneezy though!

3. WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER STRESSORS?

There’s plenty of stressors in our daily lives sleep (e.g. cold weather, being unfit, career and relationship pressures) which, when combined with exercise may make you even more vulnerable to illness.  Considering how much other stress you have to cope with can help your decision of whether to exercise or not.

Finally, well done for wanting to remain fit whilst feeling rough. We salute you all (with a hot lemsip and dose of aspirin!) 


The Author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for PayasUgym. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

Comments

Debra G.
15 January 2017

Debra G.

oh dear, it is serious cold and noro season - please don't share it round at the gym! I'm all for a gentle run or walk if I feel under the weather, but I keep it to myself.

Claire H.
31 December 2016

Claire H.

I actually make the most of being ill by not doing any exercise at all and loafing around as much as possible. Not often that happens in life without feeling guilty, so I say milk it as much as possible!!

Sasha B.
29 November 2016

Sasha B.

If I'm not feeling well I definitely don't workout. Even if I just have a runny nose and sore throat I would stop anything too energetic as I assumed it would make it worse. So that's really interesting about mild exercise actually helping. Learn something new every day....

Michael R.
28 November 2016

Michael R.

mikreed Stay away from the gym,don't spread it around.Wrap-up warm go to the park. Coughing,spluttering,and dripping noses all over the kit is not nice.

Tom J.
25 November 2016

Tom J.

I've always felt you shouldn;t exercise when ill, it strains the body too much. Also it;s the last thing i feel like doing! Maybe gentle exercise is fine but i certainly won't go playing squash!

Emma C.
25 November 2016

Emma C.

I find it hard to stop working out when I'm feeling unwell, because it know it will set me back. Luckily I'm rarely ill, but I know I probably should cut back more when I do. Maybe I'm just not feeling ill enough!

Trevor D.
25 November 2016

Trevor D.

wise advice, especially with all these colds about. I do skip the gym if I am sneezing and coughing - it isn't very sociable for everyone else to go in that state. A gentle walk well wrapped up has to do on those days.

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