So you've been down with a cold - or worse, the flu - and are starting to wonder when would be a good time to get back into training. "Listen to your body" is good advice - but sometimes it's hard to tell what your body is saying and it can feel SO GOOD when the worst of the symptoms are over, you just don't want to end up prolonging your cold, or suffering a relapse. The general consensus is TAKE IT SLOW...
When your lungs are involved, you need to avoid working out. Exercise puts a strain on your body and weakens your immune system. A respiratory infection can lead to bronchitis and even to pneumonia if the body is not allowed to rest. Pushing yourself in these situations will do more harm than good. In an article in "The Washington Post," immunologists suggest waiting two weeks after such an illness to resume exercise.
When you have a fever, you should not work out because your body temperature is already too high. Working out naturally raises your body temperature and elevates your heart rate. You do not want to intensify the effects of a fever with physical exertion. You could end up loosing too much water and fainting. Dr. Edward Laskowski on MayoClinic.com advises against working out if you have a fever.
The Common Cold
In a 1997 study conducted at Ball University cited in "The Washington Post," 50 student volunteers were infected with the common cold. Half were asked to exercise while the others rested. The duration of the cold was not increased in those who worked out versus the students who rested. Dr. Laskowski on MayoClinic.com suggests, "Exercise is usually OK if your signs and symptoms are all 'above the neck' — symptoms you may have with a common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat."
Take It Slow
The most important rule in resuming exercise after being sick, according to MayoClinic.com, is to take it slowly. Do not just jump back into your normal workout. You need to lower the intensity and even the duration of the exercise until you feel comfortable. By starting back too soon, you run the risk of weakening your immune system or hurting yourself during the workout. If you are uncertain about when to return, consult your doctor.
The Best Way to Start Exercising Again After Being Sick
A winter cold, flu, or virus can throw a serious wrench in your normally fit routine, leaving you bedridden and (eventually) craving a good sweat. (Next time, try these tips to fight cold and flu germs the right way.)
But how do you get back on the bandwagon after an illness passes? How big of a setback did you really take? And how much exercise is too much when you're first getting back at it? We touched base with Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University Montgomery to find out.
Things might not be as bad as you think: If you're flat on your back for a week—assuming you stick to a regular gym routine when you're healthy—you'll lose about 30 percent of your fitness, especially your cardio output, says Olson. While this is a bummer, with two to three weeks of training—using the right bounce-back strategy—you should be close to your normal physical fitness again, she says.
So how can you tell if you're OK to hit the pavement? First and foremost, make sure you haven't had a fever for at least 48 hours, says Olson, who adds that you should also have a few good night's sleep under your belt, and no longer have any aches and pains.
"If you're running a fever, you should not work out," Olson notes. "The energy needed by your immune system to fight off bacterial infections will be compromised if you exercise." And this means you'll invite lingering symptoms to worsen—which could predispose you to more intense issues like mononucleosis or pneumonia, she says. (Not fun.)
Feed Your Cold!
Nevermind the old adage that you need to starve a cold - you need to EAT!
Eating healthy while we are down and out is very important. The majority of weight loss happens with our nutrition anyway, so there is no reason not to continue on our weight loss plan. The vitamins, minerals, hydration, and micro nutrients we get when following a healthy diet can shorten the time of an illness, continue our weight management strategies, and also help us feel more "emotionally" productive.
More good news on Eating Healthy while recovering:
Ways to Stay Positive When You’re Sick
Remember: Your Body Is Sick, Not Your Brain.
Take Sensory Care.
Ask Yourself: Does This Have Good Energy?
Eat Clean Food.
Drink Plenty of Fresh Water.
Look at Beautiful Things.
Get a Shower and a clean set of PJ's on