If you are feeling sick because of the weather changes, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. You should not work harder when your body is already under so much stress. However, some light to moderate physical activity may actually help you feel better in some cases and can even help you drive the seasonal infection away.
Dr. Richard Besser, the Chief Health and Medical Editor at ABC News, suggests his Neck Rule. According to him, working out could be beneficial if you are suffering from a common cough and cold, sinus pressure, stuffy nose, or even flu. It is called the Neck Rule because all these ailments affect parts of the human body above the neck.
Some good workout options can play a positive role in curing seasonal illnesses, though you might avoid some workouts if they seem too demanding. For beginners, you can note that if you have a little cough or cold, you won’t even mind it at first and you would not find it a deterrent to your fitness schedule. The situation could demand some medical attention a day before going to the gym, and we trust that taking an antibiotic would help.
Here are some good cold relief exercises that you can start doing immediately:
Originated in Ancient China, Qi Gong is also one of the good exercises that you can consider for getting some relief from the cold. It is a slow and mindful movement that is a cross between martial arts and meditation. This ancient exercise has a low intensity and can reduce stress and anxiety, improve blood flow, and increase energy quickly.
Cold and cough are seasonal illnesses that are caused by a wide variety of viruses. None of this is life-threatening, though you should consult a healthcare specialist or go for some easy home remedies to resolve the issue faster.
Cold may not last more than a couple of weeks but for the first few days, the person could be contagious. The virus may spread from him to someone else rather quickly, especially if the recipient has lower immunity. Some age groups or health conditions like the elderly, infant, or sick could be at higher risk.
Working out with a little bit of cold and cough would make you warmer. You should, however, not overdo it to the extent of weakening yourself- in which case, your immunity would rather fall. You can drink some warm water before you get on with your warmup exercises to build some momentum in your favor.
If you are under weather, you should not try lifting high dead weights for longer periods. You should stick to simple exercises like pushups, stair climbing, or maybe a bit of meditation, and rather stay away from the following exercises:
Endurance running or long-form of running is a continuous form of running that spans a distance of at least 3 km. It is considered an aerobic exercise and is named as such because it increases stamina (or endurance). However, it can quickly worsen your state if you are feeling feverish due to a cold.
Machine weight training is a specialized form of exercise that uses gravity as the primary resource for increasing strength. It requires fitness-centric machines that deliver different levels of resistance to the person exercising on them through a variety of exercises. It should not be tried when feeling ill.
Swimming is one of the easiest and simplest workouts because it requires a constant workup of your muscles against a constant (or increasing force of water). It boosts your heart rate, builds muscle strength, and increases endurance. Water would cause more harm if you are feeling cold or fever.
Team sports are the ones that require at least five or more persons across two competing sides each who are working for an exclusive result. This may include football, basketball, or rugby, etc. These require a lot of energy and are thus not recommended during cold.
Committing to such demanding exercises can lead to severe health issues. Cold and fever might just be two of the most common ones out there but they also make the most people sicker when they are working out unnecessarily. Why make it worse for you?
We are investigating two special cases, one of doing Pilates and one of lifting weights. Let’s assume that the person has a cold for a few days now and that the doctors have asked him to take some bed rest.
Pilates can quickly worsen up your medical condition, if not make you bed-ridden.
It is important to know that skipping a day or two of your exercises won’t cause you to shed a lot of weight. Pilates is the toughest of exercises and can quickly wreak havoc on natural immunity. They can also catapult the illness to a higher stage.
If your cold is not too high and you are not experiencing any symptoms of fever or nausea, you may continue with your routine by reducing the reps and intensity.
Some mild congestion should not stop you from doing your best in the gym but you should assess the current state of your illness. The medicines for cold often increase your heart rate and when you lift weights, it may result in making your heart pump very hard, especially when your immune system is using all the strength to fight infections.
This would automatically drain your energy by a massive amount and you might soon start feeling giddiness, nausea, and even fever. It would be thus best to stay away for a day or two until the cold has subsided. You should be reasonably confident to build your way up after that, even if you were working out with a lot of progress to show.
Moderation holds the key to making the most of your workout session in the event of a cough and cold. In case you are an exercise freak, make sure you take time for rest and recovery after periods of intense training. When you have a cold, it is important to give your immune system some time to recover.
When workouts get too strenuous, the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in your body can go down. At the same time, your stress hormone (cortisol) may go up and this may seriously interfere with the ability of certain immune cells to work properly.
The bottom line of the discussion is that working out in moderation when you are down with a cold or flu can help in boosting up the recovery process. But you should be careful to keep yourself away from strenuous exercises in this case. It would never hurt you to listen to your body when you are ill or even when you are not at your optimum best.
Tip: Every form of exercising helps you rise a better person from the mats than the one that had first sat on it. If you are not getting it right this time around, you might need to look at the committed mistakes.
You would not lose your progress if you do not go to the gym to work out for a few days. Workout consistency and intensity can always come later. After all, we work out only to keep ourselves fitter and not to fall ill.
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