Do you keep exercising when sick? Or do you throw the towel at the first signs of nasal congestion? Scientists brought this question to a group of mice in a lab. All mice were exposed to the influenza virus and, during three consecutive days the mice performed one of three levels of exercise.
The first group, did absolutely nothing, these were the sedentary mice. The second group was forced to run for about 30 minutes and finally, the last group, were forced to run for approximately two and a half hours.
This specific type of influenza was lethal to mice and the findings were pretty clear. Of the sedentary mice, more than half died while only 12% of the mice that run for 30 minutes. The long runners was the group with the greatest death rate, 70%.
This specific study showed the effects of having a specific level of exercise for 3 consecutive days after being infected with a virus. It doesn’t really say what this type of exercise those to build your immune system in the long run. Discover more fitness tips and health advice from this “” page.
According to this study, sweating it out, seems to be a good idea, as long as we exercise moderately. I would also add, that it depends mainly on the severity and the type of symptoms we are experiencing.
If you have a high fever, stay in bed, drink some soup, save your energies. Your body is fighting a serious battle inside and the least thing it needs is to worry about is how to repair your muscle tissue after a series of deadlifts.
But if you just have a runny nose and maybe a bit of a sore throat, going out for a run and doing some light exercise might just be what you need to clear your nasal congestions and help the body sweat -or process- whatever is making it uncomfortable. This is also a great chance to boost your intake of, one of the classic supplements that helps strengthen the immune system.
Here’s a simple guide to keep in mind:
A simple guide to exercise when sick
- If you have a fever, don’t. Even if it is a light one. A fever means your body is fighting a virus or bacteria. Save your energy for battle. Note, if your body temperatures fluctuates after an intense exercise session, it might be a sign of dehydration. Check your urine and, just in case, increase your fluid intake significantly. Even if it is not dehydration, the additional fluids will help your body release any toxins.
- If your symptoms appear above the neck, exercise. Sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion.
- If your symptoms appear below the neck, don’t. A serious cough that makes your body tremble, chest congestion, different types of belly issues and illness that appears with serious muscle or bone aches.
- Belly issues are broad. Vomiting is a definite no no, but a loose stomach might be something that just makes exercising uncomfortable. There are those belly attacks that makes the entire body ache, muscles, bones, even your thoughts appear to be in pain. As you would conclude, those are times to do nothing at all.
The bottom line
Your body can and will guide you, just learn to trust it and to be aware of it. If you are uncertain about a specific physical activity, my advice is to give it a try. Don’t attempt to perform at your best level, evaluate how you are feeling during and after. If you feel better, continue, if you feel worse, then it might be a good time to stop for a while.
Remember the mice, light moderate exercise will help you process the toxins. Extenuating, high intensity workout, might throw you in a hole. What’s light and what’s intense? As always it depends on your level of training, but doing anything beyond an hour can be seriously extenuating. If anything, try to remain at 60% of your capacity, whatever that is.
Finally, remember one last thing: your level of fitness will not vanish in a single day. On the other hand, not giving your body enough time to recover properly, could keep you sick for longer or take your illness to another level.