Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Should You Exercise When Sick?

"The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health." - Psalm 41:3

Problem: You're all stuffed up - with a sore throat or sinus infection - and you want to work out. Should you?


The question of whether you should train or not while sick comes up often, so here are a few tips to help you make the right decision and what to do so you don't spread germs to others.

If you have a head cold - the symptoms are above the neck - but don't have a fever, then it's okay to train as you normally would depending on how you feel and how much energy you have. In fact, many times, you will feel better after you train than if you had just skipped the session.

"It's important to stick to your regular exercise routine if you're feeling energetic enough," said Shazia Kahn, assistant professor at Loyola University Health System. Just don't push yourself too hard and be sure to take in more fluids than usual.

If you're achy, have a fever, vomiting or have diarrhea and chills, it's better to skip your workout and come back when you feel better or only have a head cold.

Which brings up another issue: If you're determined to bring your cold to the gym, at least be sure to disenfect the equipment when you're done and stay out of the pool. Droplets from a sneeze travel up to 3 feet; if your mucus hits fellow swimmers before landing in the water, it could give them a cold.

So the next time you have a head cold and want to train, go for it! But if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms, stay home and rest.

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