Smart Tips for Exercising When Sick
“The classic line from every sports medicine doctor is, ‘If you can do it, do it. If you can’t, don’t,'” said Dr. Lewis G. Maharam, author of “Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running.”
Usually if symptoms are confined to above the neck, exercising is OK, he explained. But if you’re running a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) or higher, skip it.
Body heat rises during exercise due to increased metabolism, explained Maharam, who practices medicine in New York City. If you start high, your body’s way of cooling you down is out of balance.
“If fever gets too high, you break down proteins, maybe in the kidneys or liver,” he said.
Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said some days symptoms dictate scaling back your workout or, if you’re contagious, skipping the gym entirely.
“Always listen to your body,” she said. “It might be a good idea to exercise at home or privately instead of going to the gym.”
1. Rest as much as you can. I would like to share a quote by Satchel Page; The baseball icon, who played professionally into his 50s,he had a conservation mantra when it came expenditure of effort. “Never run when you wan walk. Never walk when you can stand. Never stand when you can sit. Never sit when you can lie down.” Your body always has only a certain amount of energy it can expend. When I’m ill and know I’ll be forced to use it elsewhere such as taking care of my 3 boys, my default mode is on my behind every single chance I get.
2. Hyper hydrate. I’m a HUGE fan of hydration anyway, but when I’m sick it’s almost ridiculous. Water speeds things through your system and being hydrated allows your immune system to work less hard. The only risk of drinking too much water is hyponatremia, which is impossible when you consider tip #3.
3. Super supplement. Again, I take supplements in general but when I’m sick it all goes through the roof. It’s very hard–nearly impossible–to OD on vitamins and minerals. Still, I try and get as much as I can through whole food sources, like Shakeology. But I also add a ton of vitamin C, zinc, B vits, as well as all the “cold fighting” herbs you’ve heard of: echinachea, astragalus, elderberry, and so forth. I don’t always buy into the Airborne et al theory that you need this stuff all the time but many years of experience have shown me that it might help, and certainly doesn’t hurt, so I hammer down these nutrients just in case they work. I also up my electrolyte/salt intake as part of the hyper hydrate strategy.
4. Eat small snacks all day long. Stuff a cold, starve a fever comes into play but instead of pigging out, I am grazing constantly. This forces less work on your digestive system and it ensures that you’re getting a steady stream of nutrients released into your system at all times.