It is the time of year again: flu season. This means there is a high likelihood that right in the middle of a training regimen sickness will hit. For many of us, exercise is a way of life, a way we normalize each day and walk out in confidence. So when a cold, flu, or other virus hits, what should be done?
There are two basic rules which are important to think about when considering exercising when "under the weather." If the sickness is above the neck, it is okay to workout. If the sickness is below the neck, it is not okay to workout. For instance, the common head cold, mild sore throat, or headache doesn’t necessarily have to prevent you from exercising. The flu, fever, chest congestion, body aches, or other viral infection should keep you sedentary.
Another important thing to remember is the likelihood of spreading infection at a gym. It is not wise to sweat, cough, and spread mucous all over gym equipment when an illness occurs. In fact it’s selfish. Think about others and workout at home or take the day off. Also, it is not prudent to do an incredibly hard workout or “go all out” when sick. This will only make things worse. Simply getting the heart rate up and blood flowing is good enough during this time.
When considering working out sick use the “above the neck” or “below the neck criteria” mentioned above. Think of others at the gym and keep workouts light and rejuvenating. This will help stop the spread of illness while allowing for an exercise bout when sickness hits. Happy Training!