Everybody gets ill, but it’s tough to know what to do about it when it comes to training. Should you ‘sweat it out’ or rest up?
We’re approaching the time of year when people to start to get under the weather and being in a client-based environment with other people training around you, germs are bound spread.
So, should we train when we’re ill?
Remember there’s a difference between ‘working out’ and ‘physically moving the body’. A structured workout routine, one where you’re heavily breathing, sweating, working hard and feeling some discomfort awakens a stress in the body. When we’re healthy our body can easily adapt to this stress. Over time this progressive adaption is what makes us fitter and stronger. But when we’re sick the stress of a tough workout can be more than our immune system can handle, making it work extra hard to fight off the sickness and the stress response induced by training. There’s no reason to dive for the couch the minute you feel a sniffle coming on. Non-strenuous movement won’t hurt you and might even help when you’re feeling under the weather. Some non-strenuous movements include:
• Walking (preferably outdoors)
• Low intensity bike riding (outdoors)
• Low intensity pilates/ yoga
These activities aren’t intense enough to create serious immune-compromising stress on the body. Instead they often make you feel better and recover faster.
When it comes to ‘working out’, remember there are different intensity levels of workouts. A low to moderate intensity workout can leave you feeling energised. A high intensity workout on the other hand takes a bigger toll on the immune system making it harder to recover.
In general, if your symptoms are ‘neck up’ such as a cold, sore throat, mild headache it is mostly okay to train and usually can make you feel better. Reduce the intensity of your workout if needed and get some fresh air. If your symptoms are ‘neck down’ then it would be better for you to rest and let your immune system do its job without any interference. Try some non-strenuous movements and again get some fresh air if you can.
Some ways of reducing illness at this time of year:
• Make sure you have plenty of vitamins in your diet by eating plenty of vegetables.
• Wrap up warm when your outside/ in a cold environment
• Use hand gel/ sanitiser- kill the germs before they spread to anyone else
• Get plenty of fresh air
• Keep clean and tidy
• Reduce stress levels when possible- Write to do lists, utilise time
• Keep working out regularly when you can to build up your immune system
• Get plenty of sleep- at least 6-8 hours a night