Author: Nolan Mitcheltree (Fitness/Strengthening Coach)
Fall weather is upon us and you know what that means.... so is the cold and flu season. For those of you who get into the routine of visiting the gym certain times during the week, an illness may greatly hinder the consistency that you all have built with maintaining that fitness schedule. Thus, sometimes leaving you with the hard decision to either persevere through the illness and complete the workout or take the necessary time off to restore the body back to health. So the big question that still remains is, can an individual still workout when sick, and if so how does that individual approach training?
1) Analyze where the symptoms are originating from
- A general rule of thumb, if the symptoms are not severe and are above the neck (such as a headache, runny nose, etc.), an individual is generally okay to continue training; if exercises are modified to be light. In the event that symptoms are below the neck (such as chest congestion, muscle aches, etc.) the individual should not resume workouts. Instead, the individual should get the necessary rest, he or she, needs to restore harmony and balance back into the body.
However, please be advised that these are strictly recommendations and any healthcare protocols that are established at wellness centers and gyms, should be respected as well; especially when it comes to Coronavirus policies and regulations.
2) Dial back the intensity
- When healthy, intense execersise triggers a stress response in the body that further ais the body in becoming stronger. However, when sick, this stress response can overload the system, making an individual more fatigued and sick in the process. Therefore, when ill, it is best to dial back the workouts and keep one's heart rate low. Low intensity will look different for each individual, so make sure to listen to your body. If you feel yourself gasping for air or over exerting yourself at rest, stop and modify the workout.
3) Take that break! It is okay!
- An illness getting in the way of one's fitness routine can be such a bummer, but sometimes the body recovers even better from unscheduled random breaks from training. In fact, sometimes, the reason we are sick is because it is our body's stress response to overtraining. So take a break or two and let your body recover, it is okay!