Working Out While Sick – The Truth
Achoo. *sniff* There you go, that little flu bug or whatever you caught is creeping up on you. So that leaves us to the big question. Should you be working out while sick? I mean, if you feel okay and you just have a little sniffle here and there, it should be fine, right? Not necessarily, and for many reasons. By the time you start sniffling and sneezing, you already have a bug.
Generally, a cold will hit you in about 24 hours once the virus gets in your system. Influenza (which we all hate) usually strikes in 2-4 days once exposed. Your typical cold is simply an upper respiratory tract infection caused by a virus. Many people think colds are caused by cold weather, but that’s just a myth.
The truth is that most people are prone to colds in the colder months because they are not exposed to as much sunlight which is a powerful source of vitamin D. Vitamin D boosts the immune function.
Your Immune System (Keep It In Check At All Times)
Another reason people may be prone to continual colds is they have an insufficient immune system. You can have a great diet and workout program that keeps you lean and builds muscle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting ALL your micronutrients in sufficient amounts. If you are lacking vitamin D or basic sunlight, then that means you can be susceptible to colds when they run rampant during the fall and winter months.
Sweating Out A Cold (Is It Possible?)
Working out while sick taxes’ your body and immune system. Some people think they can exercise to sweat out a cold. Cambridge.mokshayoga.ca contributes, “You can’t sweat out a cold” according to Dr Ronald McCoy of The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The exercise may feel restorative, but it’s just a temporary boost in your serotonin. Trying to sweat out a cold can increase your temperature! This is dangerous, and it makes any possible healing or recovery a difficult task because your body doesn’t get a chance to repair. Healing takes place when your body rests.
There are hundreds of germs that can cause the common cold, and their symptoms involve sneezing, coughing, congestion, headache, sore throat and watery eyes. If you are healthy and keep your immune system amped-up during those cold and dreary months, you can usually knock it out in 7-10 days. But, working out while sick will keep you sicker longer.
Take Things Down A Notch (Allow For Recovery To Occur)
However, you have to nurse the cold like a baby. That means taking care of yourself and resting, and no working out while sick. You will need to eat good quality foods and take vitamins and minerals, etc.
If you don’t take care of yourself when you are sick and get the necessary rest so your body can recover, your simple cold can turn into something more sinister such as bronchitis or a sinus infection. That will just prolong your illness and your time away from the gym.
Just as your muscles need to rest so they can recover to become a larger and stronger unit, so does your immune system. Those who try to “take the bull by the horns” and have a “do-or-die” attitude when it comes to a cold and working out may feel better for a short amount of time, but then they will have a relapse.
This will continue to happen until you actually take care of your body and immune system, to heal and repair it so it can take on the demands of working out. Furthermore, if you are sneezing and coughing, don’t go to the gym. Others breathing in expelled droplets puts them at risk for catching a cold. What’s just as bad is that a cold and even flu virus can thrive for hours and days on surfaces in enclosed areas, like gyms. Working out while sick is not only harmful to you, but others.
9 Simple Steps To Take To Nurse A Cold
Eat Clean (Your Diet Is Still Key)
You need to eat well while you are sick. Eat a diet that’s clean and void of processed foods. Real food will allow your body to heal.
Fluids (Flush The Gunk Out)
Drink a lot of liquids, a lot of water to help flush out the toxins, and a lot of hot herbal teas to open your sinuses and ease any throat conditions. There are a number of herbal teas with Goldenseal and Echinacea in them to help with colds.
Chicken Noodle Soup (Really?)
They always said there’s something in chicken noodle soup that helps to heal a cold. It’s the combination of an enzyme in the chicken for healing, the steam from the hot soup to open your sinuses, and even the noodles, yes those carbs, help settle your stomach and feed you. Let’s face it; no one really has a big appetite when they are sick. Homemade is best, but if you don’t have any one to help you, popping open a can of soup would be just fine under these circumstances.
Micronutrients (They Are Small, But Play A Big Role)
Take a high-quality multivitamin to ensure you are receiving all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function and rebuild your immune system so it can fight off the infection. In fact, I actually double-up on my multivitamin intake when I’m sick.
Vitamin C (Can Quite Possibly Be The Missing Link)
Some people think that working out while sick helps, but nothing helps better than a dose of vitamin C. Vitamin C is also a powerful healer. Taking a good 10 grams spaced out during the day can have a dramatic impact and enhance your recovery time. If you experience any diarrhea then you might back off a little on the dosage, but do keep a lot of vitamin C flowing through your system.
Your pH (It’s Not Just For Pools)
A balanced pH (potential for hydrogen) drives out impurities and restores health. An acidic pH is usually the link when it comes to health concerns. You can go the route of choose foods to accomplish this, or you can take a supplement which usually does the trick much quicker.
Kill The Bug (Immune Booster Cocktail)
During flu season, typically from Halloween to Easter, I take a cocktail of fish oils and olive leaf extract. They are a powerful duel to keeping your immune system strong.
Sometimes You Just Have To Get A Script (Rx Antibiotics)
If you started caring for the cold too late or you have been working out with a cold and it got the better of you, it’s usually just best to go to the doctor and get a round of antibiotics to knock out the cold. While antibiotics do kill the nasty bacteria that had you feeling bad, it also kills off the good bacteria. I highly recommend taking an acidophilus supplement to replenish the friendly bacteria so you can prevent a yeast infection later on down the line.
Wash Your Hands (Once Deemed Insane And Quackery)
Did you know that the medical hand-washing method used in hospitals today was once deemed as insane and quackery? (A quack is someone who pretends to know or talks pretentiously without any knowledge. A quack is simply an imposter, a fake, a fraud. It’s simply one who pretends to be something he or she is not.)
Ingaz Semmelweiss, a Hungarian physician, discovered that simple hand washing could stop the spread of germs. People laughed him off as a quack since the eye couldn’t see a germ. (This is 30 years before The Germ Theory of Disease.)
So, wash your hand often, and if you are sick stay home so you don’t spread the virus. You might want to or feel like working out while you are ill. However, it’s not in the best interest of your or the others in the gym.
So final answer… No. If you are stick stay home and rest! This is for your benefit and others.
Other Stuff You Need To Know (Don’t Skip)
Okay, now you know why working out while sick is a no-no. Now, join over 73,000 others who are getting fit and stage-ready. Get my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course and start changing your body this week. Click the link below to get started…
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
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