I am writing this article primarily because this is exactly the question I have had to ask myself for the past 8 days. I obviously caught a virus while traveling and sleep deprived, and now I'm left to ask: ok, should I rest and try to sleep this off, or work out and stick with my routine?
Well, one thing is for certain. I have to remember the single most important thing I can do for my body, and not neglect that...but what about physical activity?
I finally fell on the side of: do what you can until you can't do it anymore, and this is pretty much backed up by doctors and trainers. If you are vomiting up your kidneys, or can't go up stairs without a cough attack that lays you flat, you can probably convince your trainer that you should take a day or two off to lay on the couch and watch old episodes of Parks and Recreation.
However, there are two stages - the beginning and the end - where working out can actually help you kick that virus' patootie.
Right when you start to feel sickness coming on, or better yet, right after you are exposed, you have a chance to beat it. Hydrate as much as you can stand, then hit the gym. Sweat like you've never sweated before. You will actually give your immune system the boost it needs.
As you are feeling better, get active as soon as possible. Doctors claim that as much as 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise, even while sick, helps your body overcome the virus and kick it out of your body faster. So this week, I could not do my normal routine, but I walked on the treadmill at a steep grade, and I lifted hand weights in several different motions. It was surprisingly hard! But I can't deny I felt better after.
The ultimate message is, work out if you can, but don't necessarily use the same routine. This is the time to listen to your body. A lighter routine that does not involve heavy breathing is probably a good idea, and your weakness may require lighter weights.
Don't use sickness as an excuse for laziness, but if you legitimately need to sip tea and watch Pixar movies for 6 hours, who am I to judge?