Working Out While Sick

[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Steve from West Bloomfield emails me wondering if he should workout when he has a cold?
That’s a great question Steve, one that I get asked all the time, especially at this time of year.  A recent study sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine found exercising moderately while you have a cold does not affect the severity or duration of the symptoms.  But, previous studies found high intensity exercise such as weight lifting or high intensity aerobic exercise can have a negative impact on the immune system for a person with a cold.
So how do you determine if you’re too sick to exercise? If your symptoms are all from the neck up, sneezing, scratchy throat, mucus free cough, slight sinus headache-you more than likely just have a cold. In that case, go to the gym as usual, but take caution.  Don’t work out with maximum intensity.  If you feel okay after the first ten minutes of exercise, continue your regimen in a moderate fashion.  If you don’t feel great, it’s better to be safe than sorry-stop exercising! If you do continue to exercise, make sure you drink plenty of fluids so you don’t dehydrate.
When should you stay home?  “If you have an elevated temperature, a bad cough and/or the inability to function normally at work,” advises Dr. Dr. Adil Arabbo of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. You could have the flu. If you have any symptoms from the neck down-especially vomiting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite or a cough that produces mucus-stay home! Avoid exercise, until the infection is gone.
As a genuine exercise enthusiast, it’s time for you to confront the issue of colds versus workouts.  Carefully check your symptoms, make a realistic assessment of your condition and make a decision accordingly and most importantly, don’t over do it!  Remember nothing is impossible, even good health. Because all I want for you and your family is to seize the moment of each and every day.
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