Working out is a great way to boost your overall health, including your immune system. This can really come in handy during cold and flu season. But what if you are already sick? Is it a good idea to work out? And if so what type of exercises should you be focused on? While it may seem like an obvious yes to want to strengthen your body and your immune system, there are some factors to consider.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is are you showing symptoms from the neck up, or the neck down? If you are dealing with symptoms of a mild cold, like sniffles, sneezing and runny nose, a workout could actually be a good idea. If however, you are dealing with cough, chest congestion, upset stomach, or fever these can be made more problematic through exercise and could benefit from a couple of days’ rest.
Another thing to consider is how contagious you may be. If you typically only work out at the gym, you may want to consider not. Think about it. Would you want to share weights or machines with someone who is sick? Probably not. If you feel something coming on, consider sessions with a virtual personal trainer. Not only will it stop others from getting sick, but a trained professional can plan a workout to help you heal faster.
Even if you are experiencing mild symptoms, exercise can sometimes help heal and sometimes make you feel even worse. Here are some of the best, and worst, exercises for when you have a cold.
Jogging/ Walking – Best
Getting your blood pumping is a great boost for your immune system. However, if it’s too cold outside, it could stand to worsen your symptoms so check the weather before heading out.
Qi Gong/ Tai Chi – Best
If you don’t want to break a sweat, Qi Gong and Tai Chi are martial arts-based activities that are low impact. They are proven to increase blood flow and energy which can help the healing process.
Yoga – Best
The great thing about yoga is that no matter how you are feeling, there is a practice that will help you start to feel better. Consider working with a personal trainer at home to design a practice that will accommodate your symptoms and energy levels.
Endurance Running – Worst
Endurance running drains your energy stores. This will make your body work harder to find the energy it needs to fight the illness. If you’re fighting a cold, consider an easy jog instead.
Weight Lifting – Worst
With your body diverting energy to fighting a cold, your strength and performance will be diminished. The strain put on muscles could intensify headaches and sinus pressure. If you truly need to continue lifting, consider more reps with a lighter dumbbell.
Whether you are dealing with a common cold or the flu, it’s essential to listen to your body. Don’t push yourself or cause any strain. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to get healthy, so you can get back to doing you.