Working out when you are low

With the season changing, a lot of people are struggling with colds, flu-like symptoms, headaches and general lethargy. Working out when you are unwell can be a pain, but illness doesn’t have to derail your routine. The key is to keep some momentum going without overdoing it.

The first thing when you are unwell is to know whether you should exercise at all. If fitness is a priority for you, you will probably want to maintain a workout routine. But when you are physically unwell you must exercise caution.

A good way to determine if it’s safe to exercise is to check the symptoms of your sickness. If the symptoms are located above your neck including sore throats, headaches and colds, it is generally safe to exercise. In fact, you may even feel better as you exercise. But do decrease the intensity of your exercise to 50% of what you normally do. Should you feel dizzy, weak or nauseous, you should immediately discontinue.

If the symptoms are located below the neck such as severe stomach ache, muscle pain, and diarrhoea, then it’s better to get rest. It is also not advisable to work out in a group class or gym if your sickness is contagious. You don’t want to be in a yoga or kickboxing class sneezing and spreading germs, or have a cold and touch equipment that others will be using too.

“Stay active, maintain your exercise routine and if your body is protesting, take a day or two off but do not allow it to become a mental lethargy that keeps you away from your workout routine too long. Stay well.”

Fever is a limiting factor too. When you exercise your heart rate increases as does the core body temperature. Your body burns energy fast and if you are perspiring you will lose water. These effects are generally harmless when you are in good health, but when you have a fever, it can get dangerous. Maintaining body fluids when you are sick is extremely important as you run the risk of becoming dehydrated faster.

Walking, jogging, light stretches, regenerative activity like yoga or pilates will almost always help you feel better even when you have a cold. Aid your immune system to recovering by keeping a positive mind frame, drinking lots of fluids, eating nourishing light foods, staying sufficiently active, and above all listening to your body.

As the weather changes, be conscious of allowing your body to adjust to it. Layering is always good when you are not certain how the day will be. Take vitamin supplements if you are feeling out of sorts. Combat lethargy by nourishing your body with fresh fruit juices, healthy smoothies, steamed seasonal vegetables and soups. Stay active, maintain your exercise routine and if your body is protesting, take a day or two off but do not allow it to become a mental lethargy that keeps you away from your workout routine too long.
Stay well.

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Sandesh Palungwa Limbu

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.

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