Working Out With The Cold or Flu
Oh, the common cold. That nasty, sneaky little rhinovirus. Even a mild case of the cold or the flu seems to be able to wreak never-ending havoc on our routines. It changes what you eat and drink, the number of extra items in your bag, the number of trips to the bathroom to wash hands or refill on tissues, how much work you get done (if any at all!) and how much sleep you get. But one of the biggest ways those bugs can throw a wrench in your day is with your workout. Depending on how you feel, exercising might be the last thing you want to do when you are not feeling well. On the other hand, the thought of missing a workout could be bumming you out. Do you reach for the hot water bottle and sleep? Or the cool water bottle and work out?
Well, to answer that question, the first thing you need to do is what is called the “Neck Test.” Sure, it sounds like a line from a “Wedding Crashers,” but it just means that if your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, coughing or sneezing), doing some exercise can actually help you recover! But if you don’t pass the neck test (if your symptoms include achy muscles, chest congestion, an upset stomach, for example) make sure you take the time you need to let your body rest and recover. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about your health, you should always contact your healthcare practitioner!
Now, the next thing to keep in mind is probably not going to appeal to the sweat addicts out there, but you do have to take it slow. You can try doing what you’re used to at 50% effort and increase slowly, if you feel up for it. And if you usually go to the gym, you might consider staying home this time. Germs spread at the gym like a zombie virus.
If you do decide to stay home, we have come up with a very special 3-part “Sick Day Workout Circuit!”* Why a “circuit?” Like your mom, circuit training is an excellent multitasker. The faster you can get a full body workout, the faster you can crawl back into bed and continue to rest. You can do it from the comfort of your own home, and you can do it at whatever pace you need to! Mash that up with some low impact fun, and you get a satisfying and energizing workout without overly wearing you out. Here we go!
The 3-part “Sick Day Workout Circuit!”
1. Start with a dance party!
Turns out that not only is it fun, but dancing has been shown to be a stress reliever. One study showed that people just listening to dance music for 50 minutes actually had less cortisol and more antibodies! So crank up your favorite tunes and let your body groove to the music. It will get your heart pumping, your glands sweating, your immune system humming and make you smile, all at the same time!
2. Follow up with the famous, 7-minute workout.
This simple and seriously fast workout hits all the major parts of your body. You don’t need any equipment since it uses your own body weight. It takes a little effort but is extremely efficient. Feeling great? Rinse and repeat, but remember, take. it. slow.
3. Finish up with some good old yoga
Believe it or not, your body can get pretty stressed out when it’s fighting a virus like a cold. It even releases the stress hormone, cortisol. So relieving that stress with yoga, for example, may help boost your immunity! You can do simple sun salutations, or even a soothing “bedtime” sequence to help ease your body back down for a little nap time (here’s a shorter, 10 minute sequence, too). And if you want to up the immune boosting power, consider some laughter yoga! A Loma Linda University study discovered that laughter can actually increase production of antibodies and activate the body’s protective cells!
Want some more ideas for workouts that you can do when you’re under the weather? Check out our post How to Work Out When You’re Sick with a Cold!
And guess what? If you’re fit, studies actually show that you’re likely to have less severe symptoms and for less time, so, score! And with Cold-EEZE in your corner, getting well faster can be easier than ever. What kind of workouts do you do when you are sick?
*Make sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen!