Exercising While Sick–Good or Bad?

woman-cold-virus

It never fails.  I ran a half marathon last weekend, and three days later I caught a nasty cold.  I can guzzle all the probiotic and vitamin C drinks I want, but sometimes it happens anyway.  Why?  In this case, my immunity was temporarily compromised because of the race.  Intense exercise for prolonged periods of time can do this.  Add my two germy kids and lack of proper sleep to the mix, and, well, here I am.

So should we reach for our running shoes while we’re in a state of upper-respiratory misery?  It can be a tough call.  But here’s a good guideline, recommended by most immunologists:  If your cold symptoms are above the neck, a light workout is fine (ACSM).

Specifically, if you have muscle/joint aches and pains and headache, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, extreme tiredness, or a worsening cough with your virus, don’t exercise until you feel better (ACSM).  If you’re in doubt as to the type of illness you have, consult your doctor.

I felt all-around crappy this week, so I did much less.  I did teach my interval training class.  My “above the neck” symptoms were an annoyance, but when the class was over, I actually felt better for a short time.  Other than that, I played it by ear day by day, and listened to my body.

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