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Should You Exercise When You're Sick?

November 28, 2013 by Normand Richard, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Nobody likes being sick, yet it happens to all of us.

The good news is that engaging in regular physical activity helps your immune system to prevent colds!

People who are active on most days of the week seem to have the most "protection". This doesn't have to be 30 minutes on your treadmill.Walking briskly with a friend, raking leaves and even shoveling snow counts. Remember if you don’t have fun doing your activity of choice, odds are you won’t do it.

If you're already under the weather here are a few guidelines worth following:

  • If you have a fever or other flu symptoms, it's best to avoid being active, until you feel better for a few days.
  • A good rule of thumb is if your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, sore throat) easy exercise is Okay. For example, go for a short walk around the block, do yoga at home (to avoid spreading viruses), or light housework, but take it easy.
  • If you’re already feeling sick, intense physical activity won’t be helpful. If you’re not feeling well don’t be afraid to scale it back for a few days.

Being active on a regular basis is good for both your physical and mental health. Your best bet is to focus on an all-around attitude to health (good nutrition, being physical active, getting enough sleep, having a social network, and managing stress) for optimal well-being this fall.


Photo: iStockphoto

Related Blogs:
Physical Activity Can Help in Cold and Flu Season

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