Thursday, January 12, 2012

Should You Exercise When You Are Sick? & Sweepstakes Winners

Well, we are on to Day Two here of the Cold of 2012. Ok, it really is not that bad.  I am feeling better than I was yesterday, but today I actually have to get up and go to work and act all normal and it is quickly reminding me that better does not equal 100%.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand:  Running/Working out & Sickness.

With sickness brings up the age old question of exercise. 

Should I exercise when I am sick?

I don't know about all of you, but every time I am sick I struggle with this question.  Do I run, cross train, workout etc. when I am not feeling so well? Since I am a morning girl, the questions always start the night before and go something like this:

Me: *cough* *sniffle*  Can I workout tomorrow?
Husband:  We will see how you feel in the morning
Me:  But what if I don't feel better
Husband:  We will see how you feel in the morning

Apparently, this conversation never gets old because I like to have it every time I get sick.  Last night however it went something like this. 
Me: *cough* *sniffle*  Can I workout tomorrow?
Husband:  We will see how you feel in the morning
Me:  I think if I don't feel well I might just sleep
Husband:  SHOCK

Fast forward to this morning.   I had a hill workout of 4 miles on tap.  To do it and get to work on time, it meant a 5 a.m. wake up call.  The alarm went off, Aaron tried to get me up. I told him lets try at 6.  At 6, he nudged me again telling me, rightfully so, that I always say the hardest part is getting going and that I need to try, but instead I did something of a whimper and slept for another hour.
So yea, that is right, two days in a row I have forgone the exercise routine in the name of rest.  And this got me thinking. I have always been one to exercise through illness.   Spouting some lines about how I feel better when I work out and how a good sweat will do me good etc.  Yet, all the while knowing that I probably just need to 

 Chicken Soup and Challah is how I slow down (thankfully Aaron woke up early yesterday to make me some)

If I am being honest, there are many times when I said these exact same lines, go to the gym while sick, get on the treadmill and start whimpering and make my husband take me home while shaking my head at myself - I should have just stayed in bed.  Or the times when I make it through the workout, feel great, only to feel like utter crap 20 minutes later.
So what is the truth about working out/running while sick?  Is it really a good idea to do so?  Are we really just kidding ourselves, telling ourselves it is a good idea because we are scared that missing a workout or two or three will hinder our training, or gasp, make us gain weight (especially if we are just loading on the extra food, like I do, when I am sick).

To find out the answers, I went straight to the source - GOOGLE, of course.

Overall, the answer seems to be 

1) Listen to your body and
2) If you are going to exercise, make sure it is moderate and not intense

Also follow this rule of thumb

It is ok to moderately exercise if your symptoms are from the neck up (sniffles etc.) but hold off if from the neck down (e.g., chest cold etc.) *Source

Dr. Rick Kellerman from the American Academy of Family Physicians notes that people need to listen to their bodies.  If they are sick, their body is telling them something.  While it may be tempting to workout, it may actually prolong  illness.  He goes on to explain that it is a myth that you can sweat out germs and toxins.   Although low levels of exercise may increase endorphins and provide benefit, intense workouts raise endorphins to high levels and can wear down the immune system.

Ok, ok I won't go run a marathon today...but maybe tomorrow

Ultimately, you are best off listening to your body.  If you have mild symptoms, moderate exercise is probably ok.    But make it moderate!!! And when you are feeling better remember to easy back into it - start off easy (e.g., cross train instead of run).

Today, you may categorize my symptoms as above the neck and mild.   If you asked me two years ago, I would have absolutely worked out today.  But rather, I listened to my body and rested.   Hopefully, with the extra rest and nutrition I will be back before you know it.

Do you think it is wise to workout when you are sick? What do you do?

Note:  I am not a professional, nor was this post intended to give advice.  Rather information. See here for more information:  Source 1; Source 2; Source 3

Last but not least, Sweepstakes Winners:  If you did not win, more fun games next week and make sure to use the Vitalsox discount code: RS1BL1TS

For VitalSox - 
Recovery Socks - Danielle Jenn, Penny
Arm Warmers: Leah K
Trivitals: Kelly 728, RunningfortheKitchen, &Debkershberg

For PopChips: Kelly

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