I’ve had a cold – a pretty bad one – for a few days now. However, I’m starting to feel a little better. I actually don’t feel like sleeping all day like I did just a day or two ago. So my energy levels are a little higher now, which is nice. A lot of people question whether or not they should work out when they’re not feeling well.
It’s actually quite a common question because most people think they might make themselves sicker if they work out. Especially since we are in the thick of flu and cold season, those who work out often are feeling it since they feel trapped into being a couch potato when they’re not feeling good.
But the answer to the question is very simple. You can certainly try a light workout, but if your body is telling you STOP then you need to stop. Your body often needs all of its resources to fight a bug such as a flu or cold, and when you work out, you are demanding energy and resources from your body.
This is how you actually burn calories from exercising – you are demanding resources of your body such as increased blood flow, heart rate, and increased oxygen circulation. All of this takes energy, and if your body is telling you no during your attempts at working out while sick, then you simply have to stop and not push boundaries.
When you start to feel better, try doing something really light and therapeutic, like a yoga DVD. This tends to be more calming and less demanding than a hard cardio and weight workout, but you have to choose an easy one because things like hot yoga or ashtanga can be every bit as demanding nad physical.
One thing I’ve found that helps me recover from a flu or cold quicker believe it or not, is our far infrared sauna. Because it heats my body, it creates a sort of artificial fever. The reason our bodies get a fever when we’re sick is because this is the body’s attempt at killing off the bacterial or viral infection that is making you sick.
Heat kills many viruses and germs, so getting into the sauna can definitely help you to fight off the bug better. I also increase my intake of vitamin C and other antioxidants simply to make myself feel better and more energized.
Drinking plenty of water – I add lemon juice, freshly squeezed to mine – it also good for recovery as often you feel dehydrated during a cold or flu. Also, see our past post about coconut water for better hydration – interesting read.
Once you start to gain your energy back, that’s when you can try to work out, but working out when the flu or cold has its hardest grip is probably not a good idea – this is your body’s way of telling you it’s down for the count.