Its winter time and it has been a doozy of a flu season so far. Missing two weeks of training due to an illness is a serious setback especially if you are in momentum of reaching your fitness goals.
It’s not necessarily bad to train when you are sick, but it can be in some circumstances. It all depends on what is causing your illness. In some cases, you may not have the energy to even do a light workout. During these times, it is recommended to skip trainings.
When you are training, you follow a structured workout routine. Most of the time in these routines, you’re breathing heavily, sweating, working hard, and feeling some discomfort. This awakens a stress response in the body. When you are not sick, your body can easily adapt to that stress. Over time, this progressive adaptation is precisely what makes us stronger and healthier. However, when we’re sick, the stress of a hard workout can be too much for our immune system. A single high intensity or long duration exercise sessions can interfere with immune function. So take it easy when you’re feeling sick.
FACT: Hard training will suppress your immune system, leaving you susceptible to other opportunistic infections.
BUT this is not an excuse to just dive in bed the minute you feel some sniffles. Non-strenuous movement is actually beneficial unless of course if you’re severely out of shape. Always remember that non-strenuous movement and training rigorously are different.
You know by now that not all workouts are created equal. There are low intensity workouts and high intensity workouts and all sorts of workouts in between. Of course work outs are highly subjective and what’s low to one can be a high intensity workout to another. Always make your level of perception be your guide.
Overall, a low to moderate intensity workout will leave you feeling energized and powered up. A high intensity workout, on the other hand, will just leave you lethargic and may even hinder your healing process. Take a day off from training other than gentle stretching if you have any below-the-neck symptoms. (sore throat, fever, fluid in your lungs, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, aches, etc)
While you are sick, help your body recuperate by having plenty of sleep, drinking hot fluids, seek over-the-counter remedies. If your illness symptoms continue for more than three days, consult your physician.
Train hard while you’re healthy. Resistance training and consistent, moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system over time.
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