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The season’s changing and summer will be here soon. Before we brace ourselves to tackle the soaring temperatures, we must do all we can to manage the prevalent cold and flu that will disrupt our fitness routines built diligently over the past couple of months. Most people get the flu twice a year; the cough, runny or jammed nose, and sniffles completely compromise your workout routine. Once you’re out of the routine, it’s easy to fall out of it completely.
When you’re sick, you have to abstain from eating your favorite foods and that kind of explodes when you feel a little better, i.e., you eat more than you should. That is not good for your workout routine. Therefore, you ought to do what you can when you’re sick. You should know when it’s okay to workout and when to stay in bed, which can help you maintain your routine in the long run. Even though you may be suffering from a cold, you can still stay active.
Experts believe that exercising prevents sickness but it’s not the right way to get well when you have come down with the flu. So, workout to stay healthy and not just not-sick. Join FITPASS and choose from lakhs of workouts sessions happening across 4,000+ fitness centers in India. Don’t be restricted to a single workout routine – attend yoga classes, gym workout sessions, Pilates sessions, Zumba classes, and CrossFit sessions among many others.
Common cold or the flu does not necessarily mean that you have to spend all the time in bed. You can indulge in mild exercise if you feel up to it. However, there are times when working out can make you feel worse. You might exhaust yourself and that will only elongate your illness and affect your fitness goals. Then, how can you be sure if you can workout? The answer lies in your symptoms and whether you feel up to it or not.
You can exercise if your symptoms are restricted to your neck and up, i.e., sore throat, runny nose, etc. In this case, physical activity will not interfere with your recovery process. However, you shouldn’t let your body temperature rise too much or let your heart rate rise too high. Studies suggest that people who workout every other day, when they have an upper tract infection, don’t witness extra discomfort as compared to those who do not exercise at all. Exercising with a minor cold doesn’t worsen the severity or increase the duration. Go for a workout by all means if you have a runny nose, sore throat, and watery eyes.
However, if you have a cough along with a congested or tight chest, it is best to skip the workout. If you’re fatigued and tired, there’s no point in exhausting yourself further. Nausea, diarrhea, high fever, chills, and muscle aches are signs that you should rest.
There’s a chance that your cold and flu symptoms will worsen if you try to sweat it out. Sweating will dehydrate you even more than you already are at a time when you need extra fluids to battle the congestion. Moreover, dehydration will dry the mucous membranes, which will worsen your symptoms – stuffy nose and scratchy throat. If your symptoms aren’t too bad, you must ensure drinking plenty of water if you decide to exercise.
If you decide to go, you should know that you might be leaving viruses on the equipment you use. These viruses stay on the treadmill, weight, bars, or any other equipment you use for hours and it is inevitable that someone will pick them up after you. For obvious reasons, you won’t be able to wash your hands every time after touching your nose or mouth. Therefore, it is better to stay at home or go somewhere secluded when you’re sick. And carry a towel and hand sanitizer when you go to the gym to avoid catching the viruses other people might have.
When you were healthy, your immune system was stronger than it is now when you’re sick. Exercise improves your body’s ability to protect itself against infections. However, there are studies that suggest that those who workout too hard or too much experience an increase in their stress hormones, which causes a dip in the immunity sometime after the workout. This period makes you vulnerable to catching a cold or flu. Symptoms of cold and flu usually subside after 2 days but it is better to avoid contact with people or visiting unhygienic places right after a heavy workout.
When your symptoms decrease and you start working out again, take it easy. Starting out gently will allow your body to respond well. Increase the intensity gradually over the next few days as if you’re beginning to workout. It’s only logical that performing a hundred push-ups might lead to a relapse. That kind of exertion isn’t worth it even if it doesn’t. If you’re a gym workout freak or love MMA workouts, you could start with a simple aerobics class or a yoga class for a couple of days. Starting with a CrossFit session isn’t advisable.