Stuffy noses, hacking coughs and aches all over—cold and flu season has arrived. Though your body may be aching and your nose running like a faucet, it can be difficult to decide if you should continue your exercise routine or take a temporary break.
"We all know that exercise is key to good health, but there are times that your body may need a break," said Keith Veselik, MD, director of primary care at Loyola University Health System. "Having to slow down when you're sick is Mother Nature's way of saying don't push it and it's reasonable to pay attention to that."
According to Veselik whether a person should exercise or not can be disease specific.
When sick our bodies already are battling against an illness and that takes energy. For instance, adding the extra stress of exercising while sick can be dangerous for a person with a heart condition. A person with diabetes may need to monitor blood glucose levels more often, especially if one is not eating and drinking normally, as being ill may raise glucose levels and exercise may lower them. If you do have a medical condition and are not sure if you should exercise while sick Veselik suggests you call your doctor.
Still, Veselik says a general rule is that it's ok to exercise if your symptoms are above the neck, such as a sore throat or runny nose.
"If you aren't feeling well, but still want to exercise, lower your expectations about what you can do. You don't necessarily need to be in bed all day, but you can't expect to have the same level of energy as you would if you weren't sick," said Veselik.