If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, you may be wondering if you should suck it up and hit the gym for your 7:30 kickboxing class, or take a day of rest. Yes, sometimes working out can kick those sniffles to the curb, but if it’s more than just a little cold, working out can actually do more harm than good. An article written by CNN, helps us decide which symptoms should have you slipping into your yoga pants, and which ones should have you staying in your pajamas.
Head congestion: If your head is feeling a pressure or any sinus pain, mild exercise may be okay to test out; however, it’s probably best to keep the workouts gentle and minimal. Many experts believe in the neck rule, which is, if symptoms are above your neck, you probably have a head cold and can do a mild workout. However, if you have a fever, congestion in your chest and lungs or feel achy, it is probably a sign of a more serious ailment and you should take it easy.
Fever: According to Jeffrey Woods, PhD, professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois, it’s important to stay home and away from other people, if you have a medium to high fever. He also believes that the above-the-neck rule isn’t infallible, telling CNN, “The rule is a good one, but I’d say severe above-the-neck symptoms warrant cessation from regular exercise until the symptoms abate.”
Chest Congestion & Cough: If you’re recovering from an upper respiratory illness but just have a slight cough, you should be okay to exercise. This also applies to mild cold symptoms with a cough. However, if you are coughing up discolored or thick phlegm, you should most definitely skip your workout and maybe see a doctor instead. Check out some of these home remedies to help alleviate symptoms of a cold.
Aches & Chills: If you’re body is sore or achy and it’s not from the strenuous workout the day before, it may be associated with other symptoms of illness such as the flu, and it is best you stay home and rest. If you are having chills, then your body could be developing a fever. In this case, it is suggested that you stay home and conserve all of your energy to fight the potential illness.
Headache: If you’re feeling a mild headache coming on but the rest of your body feels fine, you should be all clear to pump up that workout. Make sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and use over-the-counter pain reliever as necessary.
Exercise is one of the healthiest activities we can do for our bodies. It not only keeps us looking amazing on the outside, but keeps us feeling amazing on the inside as well. However, you should always listen to your body and consider taking a day of rest whenever symptoms of a cold or flu arise, and of course make sure to consult your physician whenever in doubt about the severity of your symptoms.