Sunday, May 31, 2009

Should I or Shouldn't I?

I sit in front of the computer asking myself "Should I or Shouldn't I go to the gym tonight?" Last week I wrote about my daunting feeling that it was going to be a rough week.

Well, I was right.

Not only did my daughter have finals last week, we both were sick. She missed school on Wednesday and Friday. My daughter managed to go to school until lunch time on Thursday and took four exams. I was home from work on Friday with the worst sinus headache that I can remember. I have been recovering from my cold all weekend and still do not feel that great.

Should you exercise when you are sick? Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. from the Mayo Clinic answers:

Yes, you can continue with mild or moderate activity if you have a cold with no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better — by temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

So how do you determine if you're too sick to exercise? Here's a good rule of thumb: If your symptoms are "above the neck" — such as runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, or sore throat — you can proceed with your workout.

However, if your symptoms are "below the neck" — such as chest congestion or tightness, hacking cough, or upset stomach — you should postpone your workout. Also, you shouldn't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches. Rarely, exercising with a fever has been associated with inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis).

As always, use common sense. If you're not feeling well but still want to exercise, reduce the intensity of your workout and listen to your body. If your symptoms worsen with exercise, stop and rest. Missing a few days of exercise isn't the end of the world.

What did I decide?

I decided that I am going to workout at home tonight. I will spend some time on the Tai Chi form and find a good On Demand workout from Exercise TV. It will save me thirty minutes in travel time. As a bonus, I can spend the extra time reviewing two digit division with my daughter. She has to take her Math and English exam tomorrow morning before her class picnic.

What is your experience with working out when you are sick? Does it make you feel better...or worse?


John W. Zimmer said...

Hi Michele,

Not that I am older and wiser (I hope) I don't workout if I am feeling poorly. My life is sufficiently stressful to where I need all of my resources to just get through the day (assuming I was not too sick to work).

There will be plenty of time to workout when one is feeling well. I hope my 2 cents helps. :)

Dan Prager said...

Working out when sick?

If I'm almost better, I usually find that a light training session is good: Cleans everything out.

If I'm coming down with something I prefer to rest up.

For longer term afflictions -- injuries and chronic illnesses -- you've got to learn to listen to your body.

Rick Matz said...

Sometimes I grind through it, and sometimes I rest. If I rest, I take the time to examine just what it is I am doing and make adjustments, so something positive still comes of the passing of time.

Sue C said...

If it's just a head cold I'll carry on and exercise as usual otherwise I'll give it a rest.

By the way, the advice you quoted from the Mayo clinic is spot on and should be heeded. My pathologist husband would agree with this.

Littlefair said...

Good rule of thumb and to add to that I usually listen to my body(like you did tonight). It frustrates me SO much when I've got a cold and can't train, but like Dan P's comment, I generally don't work out if I feel I'm coming down with something-I tend to rest.

hope you had a good evening!

Michele said...

Thank you for your comments and advice.

A light workout on Sunday night and back to the gym on Monday. I am finally starting to feel better.

Thanks again - Michele

Cheri said...

For me, it's about 50-50. If I feel up to it, I'll "sweat it out". If not, I rest.

Something I have noticed, though, is that I can always tell by my workout when I'm starting to come down with something. It usually starts with the 'ki-op' for me: when I'm just starting to get sick, I don't have the diaphragm control I usually do and my ki-ops sound high and squeaky.

Michele said...

Cheri: Thank you for your comments. It took me a few days to get back into the swing of things.