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Exercise and the Flu

I’m sure I am getting a cold, should I continue to exercise or is it best to rest?

Light exercise such as walking can help to keep your immune strong so if you think you are coming down with a cold this can be beneficial.

If I should work out, should I work at a lower capacity?

If you have been doing a vigorous exercise regime prior to feeling unwell you would be advised to lighten your training load to allow your body the rest it needs to recover. Continuing to exercise at very high intensities when you are ill can lead to health complications such as the development of chronic fatigue syndrome and pericarditis. The bottom line is; listen to your body, do some gentle exercise if you feel able, and allow yourself the time to recover.

I’m sure I am getting a respiratory infection, should I continue to exercise or is it best to rest or if I should work out, should I work at a lower capacity?

Respiratory infections typically last 7–14 days, the usual symptoms including cough, nasal congestion, fever, body aches, malaise, and in immune-compromised individuals, even death. It is best to reduce stress on your body to facilitate healing so that you can return to 100% quickly. Ensure you fuel your body with vital minerals and nutrients from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of water to help flush your body of toxins and illness, and have plenty of rest. Rest is important to a prompt recovery, as this will allow your body to expend energy on healing (rather than expending the majority of energy on exercise demands). When you exercise at a high intensity, your body directs energy into fuelling the increased demand on your cardiorespiratory system and your muscles that are working overtime. So, if you exercise at a high intensity while suffering from a respiratory infection, you may compromise and hinder your body’s ability to heal itself. Instead, stick to light intensity exercise that does not overload your cardiorespiratory system and demand a lot of energy from your body – walking or very light cycling are good options. Furthermore, symptoms from a respiratory infection such as a blocked nose and chesty cough definitely make high intensity exercise more difficult and not very enjoyable!

I have just gotten better – as in I’m back at work but still a little wobbly – what are the recommendations for exercise?

If you are on the road to recovery you can start to build up your exercise intensity again.

If I should work out, should I work at a lower capacity?

Build up gradually and again be aware of your body and don’t rush back into high intensity training.

I am working out in a shared space, how do I make sure I keep my germs to myself? 

Influenza, respiratory infections and colds can all be highly contagious, it is recommended that you take time away from work so that you decrease the risk of passing infections on to your colleagues. The same would apply to exercising and to protect other gym users you should take some time out. Try walking or some gentle home based exercises as an alternative.