With the chillier weather coming down the pipeline within the next month or so, sicknesses and colds will also make their debut. With so many people staying indoors for longer periods of time, germs tend to stay trapped within these crowded places, making sickness more likely. Even those with the best immune systems tend to catch a slight cold each winter, simply due to the germs that surround you each and every day.
When you’re feeling a bit under the weather, oftentimes the last thing you want to do is head out to the gym. But sometimes, you’ve been on the couch so long and you’re feeling okay… and wonder if it would be unhealthy for you to try out a short gym session.
Depending on the length, discomfort, and type of sickness you’ve contracted, heading to the gym might be okay. It’s ultimately a judgment call. But how can you make an informed decision, allowing you to get some movement in while not stalling your progress in getting better?
First, take a look at your symptoms. Are your symptoms mostly above the neck, including your throat, nose, or head? This sneezing and sniffling is typically fine to work out through, as long as you’re feeling up to it. However, if your symptoms lie below your neck (stomach, digestive system, aches) you may want to sit this one out. Digestive system issues tend to dehydrate, and adding a sweat session on top of that won’t do you any favors. Those with a fever should also avoid working out for the same reason.
If you’ve had this cold or these symptoms for a day or so and have yet to go to the doctor, we’d recommend sitting out the gym simply to show courtesy to your fellow gym goers. Chances are a sickness this new is still contagious, and touching gym equipment could spread germs and spread the sickness throughout your favorite exercise lovals. If it’s a nicer day out, feel free to exercise outside, though – it may even help stave off your symptoms.
If you do decide to gym it up, be aware of the intensity at which you’re performing. When you’re sick, there’s no need to fit in that long run you’ve been dying to get through in your half marathon training plan. Take it easy. This is a great time for a calming, slow jog, walking on the treadmill at an incline, a gentle bike ride, some soothing yoga, or your other favorite moderate-intensity workout. As a rule, don’t push yourself to your hardest capacity when you’re sick – moderate to stay healthy and let the benefits come to you slowly. Of course, as you work out, make sure to stay even more hydrated than you normally do to replenish the fluids you might be losing during your sickness (and your workout).
Overall, studies show that regular exercise can lead to a healthier immune system. So if you’re feeling up to it, chances are hopping off the couch and getting a bit of movement in is a-okay. If you aren’t sure, checking with your doctor is always the best way to go.