Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Exercise When You Have a Cold or Flu- Good Idea or Not?

With the onset of office colds spreading from employee to employee, viruses coming home with kids from school, and the good old flu creeping in from time to time, you might ask yourself--is it still safe to exercise when you are sick?

Here are some facts:

1. Exercise and physical activity are important parts of a healthy action plan to prevent illness.

A. Studies have proven that exercise increases white blood cells that fight off intruders. See the American Journal of Medicine for more info.

2. Moderate physical activity -- such as daily 20 to 30 minute walks, going to the gym every other day, or biking a few times a week -- may reduce the number of colds you get per year.

3. It's usually safe to exercise with a cold, HOWEVER you have to listen to your body.

A. Cold medications with decongestants can increase your heart rate, as does exercise; so the combination of both can make the heart pump very hard.

B. You can become short of breath, creating exercise-induced asthma, which can then lead to coughing, wheezing and more shortness of breath.

C. Exercising with a fever puts even more excessive stress on the body and the immune system.

4. Too much exercise may increase colds.

A. When workouts become stressful or excessive, there can be decreased amounts of white blood cells circulating throughout your body

This isn't a problem for most of us, but if you're trying to reduce the number of colds you get, make sure you take time for rest and recovery after periods of intensive training.

Rest and recovery are always a good remedy for beating the cold and flu. Besides, you don’t want to bring your germs to the gym and spread them around! :-)

Wishing you all a healthy week and a happy holiday season.



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