Sweat it Out or Rest and Recover?
Uh-oh. You woke up with a tickle in your throat, a little sniffly, and OMG your head feels like it’s not even attached to your body. But today was the day you had planned to finally hit the gym for reals. What’s a girl to do? Push through the head fog and hit the gym or indulge in a rest day?
Lemme help you clear up some of that confusion.
If you have a minor cold, you should be OK to get in a workout, but consider keeping the intensity lower than normal. LIsten to your body and don’t push it too far. Research even shows that exercise actually boosts immunity over time, so if you are a consistent exerciser, you may feel even better after getting your workout in rather than stopping.
I typically advise my clients with an upper respiratory infection to stick with a strength training workout rather than cardio, as cardio may feel a lot more difficult with respiratory challenges. Nobody wants to be that mouth breather on the stair climber, ya know.
If you do choose to bust out a workout, be mindful of other gym-goers and be sure to wipe down the machines and weights you use. Please don’t be “that gal.” You know who I’m talking about… She is sneezing and coughing on all the things and inducing anxiety in all around her.
With that said, don’t shame yourself for taking a break. Your immune system is compromised and your body is fighting an infection so there’s no need to put your body under more stress. A high-energy workout may not be what’s best for you body and it's definitely not worth the guilt.
What if you have a fever or the flu?
My rule of thumb is a “neck check.” If the symptoms are happening below the neck, stay home and rest!
With a fever you don't’ want to increase your body temperature even more, you hot lil’ thing, you. Influenza is highly contagious so let’s not spread that one around, ok?
In the end, if you are unsure if you should hit the gym or not, try going for 15-20 minutes and see how you feel. If you start feeling gross or if are unable to catch your breath, call it quits.
Ultimately it’s up to you if you are up for some movement, or want to reserve your energy for healing. An easy walk or gentle yoga aren’t off the table either!
Listen to your body, be mindful of where you’re at, and please don’t feel guilty about taking a rest day.