In the spirit of sickness and considering I was sidelined for three days this week, I wanted to visit this subject. What do you think? Should you workout if you’re sick?
Many people practice the “Above the neck” theory. In this theory, if you have something that doesn’t effect anything below the neck, you would be fine to exercise. If you have a headache, runny nose or sore throat, feel free to exercise just reduce your intensity and length of your workouts. That means, if you have any type of “Below The Neck” symptoms, hold off. This can include chills, fever, chest congestion etc.
With this being said, I have a little different of an approach. I do go by the above rules but I complicate things a little more. If my cold is just coming on, I don’t care what part of my body it effects, I will take the day off. If my cold is on its way out, I will abide by the above rules in the previous paragraph. Why?
Well, think of it like this. Your body uses a lot of different systems to recover after a hard workout. Your muscles need to repair after being torn during the workout, your cardiovascular system needs to pump all the available oxygen and nutrients to help catch back up to your baseline, and the list goes on. Now, imagine your body has been invaded by a foreign substance and now has to try and fight them off using those same resources that were once being used to help you recover. It only makes sense to put less stress on your body, this way you will recover much quicker and hopefully prevent the foreign substances from taking over too much.
Most of the time we can sense when we are getting sick before it actually happens, but here’s another way.
Have you ever had an amazing workout, only to find yourself feeling like crap the next day? Your body is an amazing machine, and there’s a perfect reason why you had that great workout. You see, your body has noticed there’s a cold/flu coming and it ramps up all your bodies systems preparing to fight it off. This is a great indicator to take it easy the following day. Remember to keep this in mind when you have an amazing workout. It’s not a fail safe method to count on, but its something to keep in mind.
I used to workout through all my sicknesses, I just hate missing any days. I’ve made working out such a part of my routine, I feel horrible when I don’t get it in. In the long run, if you make sure you listen to your body, you will be spending far less time sick, and more time pushing that iron!