If you're dedicated to a fitness routine, you may feel you just don't have time to get sick. But is working out smart when you're trying to get well?
Exercise not only promotes weight loss -- it can also strengthen the immune system. There are certain forms of exercise that may actually help you feel better, but it all depends on what ails you. Here are five common health issues and the best way to manage your fitness routine while still allowing your body time to heal.
When you're suffering from a cold, you may be congested and have a runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, cough and general aches. Most doctors recommend paying attention to where your symptoms are located when deciding whether or not to exercise. If you don't have a fever and your symptoms aren't below the neck, in your chest or stomach, you should be OK to engage in moderate exercise. This doesn't mean head to your usual spin class or run your daily 10 miles. You should still take it easy. If you're experiencing a bad cough, a fever or the chills or have trouble breathing, consider yourself on the bench until you're feeling better.
A Sinus Infection
Sinusitis can causes inflammation of the sinuses, which can result in pressure, pain and congestion. You may looked flushed and your face may be tender to the touch, especially the cheeks and between your eyebrows. Exercise may help improve your condition, as long as you don't have a fever or an upset stomach. If you do think you're able to exercise, try a workout that promotes circulation and can help open up the sinuses for easier breathing. Yoga is a great option or walking indoors on the treadmill or an elliptical machine indoors where you can control the temperature and air quality, so you're sinuses don't get further irritated.
Digestive problems are very common and not always a reason to skip that workout. However, there are some routine digestive issues that mean you need to take it easy. First of all, an upset stomach is a stop sign for exercise -- nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea are all reasons to hold off on training for the day. If you suffer from heartburn, take a more gradual approach to exercise. You don't have to skip it all together, just focus working into your routine slowly to avoid further upset. Doing inverted exercises isn't recommended. Dehydration is a major concern with digestive issues, so make sure to drink water throughout your exercise and after.
The symptoms of a migraine include pain concentrated in one area and sensitivity to light and sound. These symptoms can take hours and even days to go away, which can put a wrench in your routine. If you're experiencing nausea and vomiting, which can accompany some migraines, exercise isn't recommended. However, if your pain seems manageable and you've been able to dull it somewhat with medication, exercise may help you the rest of the way. Yoga is commonly recommended for headaches because it promotes circulation throughout the body. Forward bends as well as poses like child's pose or downward facing dog can help relieve the discomfort. Twists are another great way to detoxify the body and promote overall health.
If you have the flu, you may feel nauseas, vomit, have a fever or the chills and suffer from body aches. The flu can last for several days, which may mean you're stuck in bed for just as long. When it comes to exercising with the flu, the most recommended guideline is to hold off if you have a fever or upset stomach. A fever is a signal infection that your body's immune system is trying to fight off. It needs all your energy to do that. Once your fever has broken, ease your way back into your training. Walk instead of run or try more low-impact exercise. Just doing some stretches to get your blood flowing can help you get back to being more active. It also wouldn't be wise to head to a fitness class or gym, as you could spread the flu that way -- keep your workouts at home instead.
Paying attention to how you feel is crucial for safety when working out anytime, but especially while you're under the weather. If you start to have difficulty breathing, experience chest pain, dizziness or nausea, it's important to stop the activity immediately, rest and go see your doctor. As one final reminder, a fever, cough, chest congestion and an upset stomach are all symptoms that mean exercise isn't a good idea. You may only delay your healing if you keep taxing the body.
Always keep plenty of water handy and make sure you've eaten a complete meal that includes fat, carbohydrates and protein before exercising.
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