Should you exercise while you’re ill?


Although Winter is over, people are suffering in great numbers from colds, the flu and now those annoying seasonal Spring allergies. What is one to do during these times when fitness is life? Should you sweat it out? Should you rest? Taking care of yourself is important so find out when it’s okay to actually push through and when you need to lay it down until you are well.

The first thing that you should consider is whether or not you are contagious. Under no circumstances is it okay to spread your germs in the name of a workout. If you are that ill, stay in and do not contaminate your public facilities or put others health at risk.

Moving on, another good general rule of thumb to use is the above the neck test. If you are suffering symptoms from the neck up suck as a headache, a runny nose, sore throat or sneezing, it’s okay to exercise. You do want to scale it back a bit and not push too hard. Stick with lower intensities until you are well. If your symptoms are below the neck including but not limited to fever, diarrhea, sore and achy muscles, dry cough or vomiting you should not exercise. You need to rest and resume exercise when your symptoms and/or infection have cleared up.

Are you unsure as to why any of this is relevant? It’s mainly due to your fluid levels. Maintaining your bodily fluids is important when you are sick and since your body experiences water loss during exercise, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration can become dangerous with symptoms including but not limited to dry mouth, lethargy, increased thirst, headache, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and sunken eyes. In severe cases, dehydration is considered a life-threatening emergency.

Even if you are feeling okay when you are sick and choose to exercise, if you feel yourself becoming dizzy, weak or nauseous then you should immediately discontinue exercising. Seek the advice of your physician if needed. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and get adequate rest.

Be royal!


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