Early last month, I was not feeling well for couple of days. Having sore throat and cough. But, I was wondering whether I should push myself to pump the iron. Just now, managed to catch an interesting conversation with a seasoned personal trainer.
Here is what I have learned:
- First, differentiate between a cold and a flu.
- Flu is infection caused by virus. You normally have running nose, sore throat, high fever, body aches and lack of energy.
- A cold, on the other hand, is much less serious. Its symptoms include running nose, sore throat, cough, some tiredness and low grade of fever.
- Next, a good rule of thumb always is the “neck check”.
- If your symptoms are below the neck, say high fever, chest congestion, muscle and joint pains, as experienced in flu, you should not exercise until you recover. Why? Training in this condition will not give you any any real training effect, so you are wasting time and energy. In fact, it may worsen your illness. A bad infection could turn into pneumonia (a serious illness in which one or both lungs become red and swollen and filled with liquid). Exercising with a fever can cause your body temperature to rise even higher. When your body temperature is high, body fluids are diminished, thus increasing the risk of dehydration.
- If your symptoms are all above the neck, more like having cold, you can still train as long as your body can take it. However, be prepared that you might feel lousy during and after your workout. A light workout may help you feel better. However, please be aware that exercising will not help you get better faster. No, you can’t “sweat out” a cold.
Though Mun has always encouraged you to exercise, but do not feel bad if you are not able to do so when you are sick. It is not the end of the world if you take some time off to rest. Missing a week of workout will not deteriorate your fitness level significantly. Trust me, you do not have to start all over again. The gym building will not run away.
In fact, when we under weather, we should eat well, drink water, rest and not to do strenuous physical activities to avoid extreme fatigue. When we are sick, our muscles are not working but our immune system will be working hard. Even if you have cold and still decide to run or cycle, if you do not feel well, stop exercising immediately and rest. Do not keep pushing yourself for the wrong reason. Also, if you are infected by virus, do not go to gym. No body will come up to you and say thank you for sharing your infection.
Hopefully, this above and below the “neck rule” will help you to decide whether you should exercise. However, always listen to your body. In fact, we should exercise to stay healthy before we get sick and not only wait till we have cold then only we want to exercise. Don’t you think so?
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