Happy New Year! We hope this finds you well and having enjoyed your holidays!
One question we get a lot this time of year, being the height of cold and flu season, is, “Should I work out when I’m sick?” It happens to the best of us—no matter how clean we eat and how careful we are, at some point, anyone can come down with an illness. Many people go by the idea that if it’s below the neck, it’s a no go, and if it’s isolated to above the neck, then you can go ahead and work out. However, most of the time it’s not a simple answer…
Deciding this depends on many factors. The first thing you should consider is the type of illness you have. Is it a simple cold? No fever, perhaps congestion, sneezing, a bit of a sore throat? It may be okay to work out in this case. See how you feel once you get started—if you feel okay once you start working up a sweat, you’re probably okay. If you start to feel exhausted soon after you start to exert yourself, you should stop and go ahead and take a rest day. You should never work out when you have a fever. Your immune system is obviously battling something more serious and you need to make sure your body devotes all the energy it can towards fighting whatever you are sick with. Keep forcing fluids, and rest up.
Another time you should most definitely take a rest is when you have a stomach virus. These rob you of vital fluids, electrolytes, and minerals, and you definitely need to nurture your body during this time. Drink fluids (stay away from juice and “sports drinks”, as they are very high in sugar and can make stomach troubles worse, besides the fact that they are unhealthy). You can make your own replenishing drink once you can hold down fluids. Here’s a good recipe: www.wellnessmama.com/2575/natural-sports-drink
Additionally, take a look at why you got sick in the first place. Have you been missing out on sleep? Experiencing higher-than-usual stress levels? Eating more sugar than you should or overindulging in alcohol or grains? Oftentimes you will see a weakness in your daily routine that led you to be susceptible to illness. Life happens, so this stuff is not always avoidable, but it might be worth a look. We love our WODs as much as you do, and it’s heartbreaking to have to miss one or more days, but that’s how it is sometimes. One way to look at it is that your body is trying to tell you something, and this is giving you a chance to shift gears and focus more inwardly, perhaps to practice more self-care and introspection. Do some mobility (we love www.romwod.com) or try some yoga (www.yogaglo.com). Even take a walk and enjoy the serenity of our forest home. Leave your cell phone behind and unplug for a while. Or, if you’re really stuck on your couch or in bed, binge-watch that series you’ve been hearing about or listen to that paleo podcast you never have time for.
The good news is that people who exercise regularly are sick at least 20% less on the whole than people who are sedentary, so you’re already ahead of the game by being active!
Last but not least, if you are sick, you are probably contagious, and it’s just common sense (and good manners) to protect your fellow box members from feeling as crappy as you do. So if you must work out in the first few days of being sick, do it at home or outdoors, and go at a lower intensity than usual. Don’t bring your misery (or your sick kid, for that matter!) to the gym and spread it to your friends. We’ll miss you, but we’ll see you when you feel better! Here’s to a healthy and happy winter for everyone!