Fitness enthusiasts like to push their bodies beyond the ‘normal’ limits, as a way to exert control over the mind- which is a perfectly healthy idea, but what happens when a person gets sick, does he or she continue to strain the muscles with exercise? It’s a question that health experts hear a lot, especially during the flu season.
The majority of medical professionals will recommend that a person maintain moderate exercise if the symptoms of their illness remain above the neck. For example if a person has a symptoms that mirrors a common cold, and they don’t show a fever, it might be okay for them to do simple activities such as walking or cycling. As a matter of fact, The American Council on Exercise recommends no more than 30 minutes of low-impact workout for a person exercising with a cold.
This might actually be good for the body, because working up a sweat is a good way to stimulate the immune cells to circulate more rapidly throughout the body; consequently enabling the body to kill more bacteria and viruses.
The Journal of Medicine and Science published a study in which 45 recruits aged 18-29 agreed to be infected with rhinovirus, the cause of most common colds. The participants then run on treadmills at moderate speed when the symptoms had reached their peak, and researchers found that having a cold did not impact lung capacity or their ability to exercise. Additional tests showed that their symptoms had no effect on the exercise sessions; nor did it impact the way their bodies responded to activity.
These findings should not, however, be associated with more severe symptoms, such as flu or more severe illness. Whenever symptoms include extreme tiredness, fatigue, muscle ache, and fever, you should rest and postpone any physical exercise; and if in doubt, always contact your doctor.
Ideally though, it would serve you better to avoid sickness during the flu season, and we have a few tips to keep you healthy and strong:
- Maintain a well-balanced diet
Your body relies on a variety of nutrients to be able to fight diseases and opportunistic infections. The best way to keep strong is to eat foods that contain all the best nutrients- and that means a well-balanced meal.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep disruptions are a major contributor to immune suppression. To keep your immune functioning properly, try to get at least 9 hours of shuteye.
- Avoid rapid weight loss
A low-calorie diet and severe fasting can leave your body weak and vulnerable to infection. If your aim is to lose weight, keep your training moderate, so as not to impair the immune system.
- Keep your stress levels at a minimal
Chronic stress will undoubtedly lead to immune suppression, and when combined with irregular sleep patterns and bad diet, you will more than likely suffer common infections. Find a way to incorporate proven stress-management strategies as a way to promote health; and think long-term because stress is pretty standard in our hectic world.
- Don’t overstrain your body
Vigorous exercises should be spaced far apart, so you have time to recover. Listen to your body and don’t rush your downtime.