Exercising when you’re sick

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Exercise, Fitness, Health
Tags: , , , , , ,

As you’ve probably figured out already, I’m terrified of going back to where I was six weeks ago. Yesterday was the first day I haven’t posted something since I started this blog. Why? Because I had a small migraine plus what I think is probably a sinus infection. I stayed in bed most of the day and didn’t even look at the computer, which I’m fairly compulsive about.

So today, I still feel pretty rotten, but earlier in the day I thought I was better. I’m now back to running a low-grade temperature, but the idea of blowing off my workout two days in a row has me freaked. But I’m coughing every time I open my mouth to talk. So what to do?

Ahh, the Internet. What did we do before all the answers were at our fingertips? Here are some guidelines I found about exercising when you’re sick.

The Mayo Clinic’s Edward R. Laskowski, an M.D. specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, has this to say:

As a rule of thumb for exercise and illness:
  • Proceed with your workout if your signs and symptoms are “above the neck” — such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or sore throat. Be prepared to reduce the intensity of your workout if needed, however.
  • Postpone your workout if your signs and symptoms are “below the neck” — such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach. Likewise, don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

Thank you, Dr. Laskowski. Hacking cough? Check. Fever? Well, low grade. Okay. No workout for me today.
Guess I’ll go see my internist tomorrow, get some antibiotics, and maybe, just maybe, by tomorrow evening I’ll be up to doing some CrossFit. And if not then, well, dammit, I’ll do it the day after. I’m in it for the long haul, so I can’t let myself think that this little setback is the end.

The Los Angeles Times has a great article on immunity, exercise and illness, and gives this advice for avoiding my predicament:

To reduce the risk of illness while following a regular exercise plan:

  • Get plenty of sleep: Adequate rest helps your body recover.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise.
  • Eat well (of course): Opt for a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables.

I was doing all that; no one is completely immune to the various bugs that want to use us as hosts. At least it’s not a zombie virus.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have some hot tea. Even if it is 99 degrees out there. That’s what air conditioning is for, despite the fact that’s not exactly what Willis Haviland Carrier had in mind when inventing it (he and other early engineers in the field were more interested in industrial rather than personal applications. I can’t imagine living in South Texas before 1902.)  But, Willis, honey, you still did us a favor. Bless you.

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