Is your exercise program compromising your immune system? Or is exercising when sick sabotaging workouts?

Let’s face it: the gym is a great tool and exercise can significantly boost energy. However, if you are ill, is exercise when sick the best course of action?

Aspects of our immune system react adversely following a significant exercise, like the skin, higher tract, respiratory organs and muscle tissue. Many immunologists feel during intense exercise viruses and bacteria could potentially gain an edge. This increases the risk of catching an infection may include going to a public gym.

So does that mean I should avoid exercising when sick?

Mild to moderate physical activity is safe even with the presence of a cold or seasonal illness. If there is no fever resulting from the pathogen, then returning to your program at decreased intensity is acceptable. Exercise could even potentially relieve delicate congestion within nasal passages.

If a client’s symptoms are present above the neck most physicians will suggest light to moderate exercise. However, once symptoms occur below the neck, such as wheezing or coughing, you may consider skipping the gym. Reducing the intensity of an exercise can also prove useful, as long as the exercise doesn’t require you to overexert themselves in any way.

It is tempting for trainers to encourage clients to “work through” their seasonal symptoms in an attempt to keep up with scheduled training. However, it is proven that taking one to three days off will not make a significant impact when maintaining progress. Strength as well as the appearance of one’s physique will likely remain unchanged. However, a client/gym participant DOES risk the possibility of going out there and become significantly worse-off than before.

All in all, we should shift our gears to understanding when the best option is to counsel rest for an active gym participant. Clients should also be empowered to gauge their overall health and decide when exercising when sick is appropriate. Remember, the goal is to become healthy and advance in the area of health and fitness. We should be doing this without compounding any problems when a seasonal illness has been contracted.

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