You need not be completely sedentary when sick. Depending on the severity of your illness, exercise may speed up the recovery process. One of the plethora of benefits attributed to exercise is that it may strengthen your immune system (i.e., increased resistance to respiratory infections) so that your risk of getting an illness (e.g., the common cold) in the future is decreased. All it takes is twenty to thirty minutes of walking or biking to boost your immune function.
The conventional wisdom is that it's okay to exercise if you have a cold but avoid exercise if you have a fever. A simple way to remember is if you have symptoms above the neck (i.e., runny nose, sore throat, sneezing), it's okay to exercise in moderation. On the other hand, if you have symptoms below the neck (i.e., wheezing, coughing, upset stomach), nix exercise until you feel better.
If you have a cold, exercise may speed up the recovery process whereas if you have a fever, exercise may slow down the recovery process. Physical activity tends to boost your immune system so cold symptoms may diminish faster provided exercise intensity level is not too high. Always listen to your body and be aware of your heart rate, breathing rate, energy level, etc. Performing exercises such as walking, biking and/or yoga at a low-to-moderate intensity level may boost your immunity to combat infection more readily. If you overreach or overtrain (as many athletes tend to do), your risk of getting a viral infection (i.e., common cold, the flu) may increase due to a suppressed immunity level as a result of increased stress (i.e., increased cortisol release). Of course, your immunity level is dependent on many factors (i.e., stress level, age, gender, amount of quality sleep, environment, mood, fitness level, etc.).
BOTTOM LINE: Low-intensity exercise is okay when you have mild symptoms (i.e., runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, etc.) but do NOT exercise when symptoms are more severe (i.e., fever, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest congestion, diarrhea, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, etc.). Click the file below for more details.
Brian Danley, CFT
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."
Brian Danley, CFT "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 408-688-1586 (cell) briandanleyfitness.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/briandanleyfitness https://www.facebook.com/BrianDanleyFitness
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I'm a personal trainer who loves to help others fulfill their health and fitness goals. I consider myself a bodybuilder in that I live the lifestyle of eating healthy food, working out regularly, and sculpting my body.