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Although we think of the flu as a winter sickness, flu season actually reaches from fall into spring (October to May). So there is still a chance that you may catch that bug that’s been going around. But wait, you say. You’re in the middle of a great fitness groove and don’t want to backtrack too much. If that’s the case, here are some tips for exercising when you’re sick.
Feeling fatigued when you’re sick is your body’s way of telling you to slow down so you get some much-needed rest while your body heals. Listening and responding to what your body is communicating is key to healing quickly and effectively.
STAY AWAY FROM INTENSE EXERCISE: Whether you’re into kickboxing or spinning, when you’re sick, you want to reserve any extra energy you have to healing. Slow down.
BE MINDFUL OF OTHERS: Are you contagious? Stay away from the gym or group classes. It’s rude and inconsiderate to expose others to illness just because you can’t miss out on your weekly Zumba. Simply using shared equipment can also infect others. If you have to do so, clean up after yourself with antibacterial wipes or some sort of disinfectant.
STAY HYDRATED: When you exercise, your body temperature rises. Your body’s natural response is to sweat, cooling you off. When you are healthy, this helps release toxins and regulates chemicals levels in the blood. When you’re sick, this can work against your body’s battle against the illness, possibly risking dehydration. Make sure to stay properly hydrated when you’re sick – EVEN MORE SO when you’re sick and exercising.
EAT: When you exercise, your body burns fuel/energy at an increased rate. This is great if you’re looking to burn off some extra unwanted calories. But if you’re sick, you want to harness the energy from your food to heal. If you must exercise when you’re sick, make sure you’re eating a variety of whole foods low in sugar, sodium, and fat.
GO FOR A WALK: Walking is the most underrated form of exercise. A brisk walk helps you sleep better, lubricates the joints, releases tension, helps with digestion, and even makes you feel happy. Pick an area free from car traffic and populated with trees.
As always, please consult a physician in order to properly address your specific needs.