Head Cold: At the first sign of a cold, we suggest not working out and getting as much rest as you can. Drink plenty of water, and eat your fruits and vegetables. But after those first few miserable days are over, try a light workout, provided you don’t have a fever. Be aware that some cold medications, if you opt to use them, can raise your heart rate, making you perceive your workouts as more difficult. Listen to your body, but it’s likely that you’ll feel a little better if you get up and moving!
The Flu: Fever, body aches, exhaustion – the flu can really knock you out for days. And our recommendation is to not work out AT ALL while you have the flu. Rest. Stay home. You can infect people for nearly a week after you start showing symptoms, and we don’t want to get anyone else sick. Exercise stresses your immune system and when you have the flu, all your immune resources need to be focused on fighting the virus. So please, take it easy. The gym will wait for you, we promise.
General Lethargy: So it isn’t really an illness, but the constant cold and darkness in some parts of the country, not to mention the lack of sunshine, can make us feel down and sick-like even without an actual illness. For this, exercise is literally what the doctor ordered. Research shows that these symptoms can be reduced with regular exercise, particularly morning movement.
Even if you need to take a few days off from your workouts to get better, you can still be moving forward with your health goals. How? By eating healthfully, of course! Unless your doctor has prescribed some sort of mashed-potatoes-and-ice-cream-only diet, use your downtime to focus on nutrition. (And you should probably look for a new doctor, too.) Try following the Bright Fitness Nutrition Countdown or any other plan that focuses on whole foods with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And we'll say it again - stay hydrated!
Illness doesn’t need to derail us. Listen to your body and give it the nutrients it needs. Not only will you feel better faster, you’ll still be on your way to improved health!
These are general recommendations for exercising through illness. Be sure to check with your health care provider if you have specific questions!