Should You Exercise When You’re Sick?

Especially after the holidays, many of us resign ourselves to exercise programs to lose the weight gained during December, or to maintain our current weight throughout the next year.

Should You Exercise When You're Sick?

Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system, develop solid muscle, and increase your overall health, but what happens when winter’s icy breath results in a cold or the flu or some other disease? Should you exercise when you’re sick?

Exercise and disease both produce a catabolic state in the body. The immune system is either heightened to fight infection or to sustain physical activity. If you’re sick and you participate in your normal exercise regimen, your body can be overwhelmed by the double dose of catabolism, and you’ll be expending too much energy.

So the short response is that no, you shouldn’t exercise when you’re sick.

In fact, it is possible to increase the symptoms and severity of an illness of you exercise when you’re sick. For example, it is easy to dehydrate during periods of illness, especially if you’re vomiting or experiencing diarrhea.

It is also easy to dehydrate when you exercise because physical activity produces sweat, and you might wind up shedding more water than you’re taking in.

Furthermore, your exercise regimen is all but ineffective when you’re sick. The body is so busy fighting infection and sustaining symptoms that it doesn’t have the necessary energy to produce muscle mass. It will be far easier to become short of breath, and lightheadedness is also common.

If you slow down the body’s ability to fight off the sickness, you could wind up being sick for far longer than you would have been if you’d stayed in bed with a continual supply of fluids.

Furthermore, your body needs additional energy to fight disease. If you exercise when you’re sick, you’ll be expending calories that are needed to help your immune system, and you’ll find yourself eating more just to sustain minimal energy.

As you can see, this is counterproductive to your reasons for exercising in the first place. You’re better of focusing on proper nutrition-plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables and electrolytes-than trying to keep up with your exercise program.

Find a good juicer for making juices for your health.

When the symptoms start to subside and you no longer feel sick, you can begin to exercise again, but start in small increments. The body’s resources can remain depleted for several days-or even a couple of weeks-following a serious bout with a bad cold or the flu, so make sure you don’t push yourself too hard, too fast.

Starting with 25% of your typical regimen should be sufficient for the first 5-7 days, then you can increase to 50% and so on from there.

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