I have to admit, if I’m not feeling well, I want to stay cuddled in my warm bed. I have to remind myself what I tell my clients, “movement heals!”
In general, if you are an active person, you will catch fewer colds. That is a scientific fact. But we all find ourselves under the weather occasionally. When your head cold is making you miserable, get outside for a brisk walk. Or hit your home treadmill. Exercise increases your circulation, when circulation is increased your white blood cells can go scanning that body for invaders more efficiently.
You may have noticed I’m suggesting outside and home workouts. Please don’t come to the gym and make the rest of us sick! If your only option is the gym, go during “off hours.” Wipe down the equipment you use and wash those hands often!
Rule of thumb, work out as long as your cold is above the neck. Above the neck means: runny nose, teary eyes, and scratchy throat.
Having said that, please note that exercising with a cold is a very different situation than exercising through the flu or other more serious illnesses. Anything involving coughing, chest/ bronchial irritation, stomach (vomiting or diarrhea) all need to be addressed by a doctor.
All intense work outs increase your stress hormone Cortisol, think “flight or fight” body response. When your cortisol level is raised so is your blood pressure and cholesterol level. These body responses will further suppress your already taxed immune system. Meaning, you will be sick longer.
Something to be aware of is over training. In this case, your body becomes broken down and can’t repair. I see overtraining mainly in my endurance athletes. If you have just run a marathon, it is imperative you give your body time to heal. Recent research shows that an exercise session of 90 minutes, will increase your chance of becoming sick for the next 3 days. Sore throat, fatigue and flu-ish symptoms are all signs your body is not able to recover.
Learn to listen to your body. Do this by becoming aware of how you feel after your workouts, do you feel energized or beaten down? Only rest, healthy eating and hydration will allow your body to heal.
Chani Overstreet is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Strada Fitness & Wellness Center with her husband, Luke. Strada is a state-of-the-art fitness studio located at 3041 Churchill Drive, Suite 100, in Flower Mound, across from Lifetime Fitness. Call 972.330.4300 or visit www.StradaFitness.com for more information.