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How/Should I Exercise when Sick?


Sarah Barr

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So I've had a viral cough/cold thing for about three weeks now. I need to exercise, and I've been walking outside for an hour some days, but it's cold here and I tend to feel worse afterwards. 

When you're not seriously ill, but are still kind of sick, what sort of exercise do you do? Or do you just avoid it altogether until you're completely better?

 

Thankyou for any advice!

 

(And if you're viewing this because you're sick too, feel better soon!)

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

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Hi Sarah,

 

You probably won't want to hear this, but you should stop exercising when ill (even if it's minor).

 

Just carry on eating properly and drink lots of water. I also find that stressing about it causes me to be ill for longer, so try to stay calm as there is nothing much you can do about it once it has started.

 

It must be frustrating to be ill for that long, personally I'd go and see my doctor just in case.

 

Hope you feel better soon!

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Hi!

 

Yeah, that makes sense, thought that would be the case. I'll take your advice!

Thankyou for the help!

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

STR 18 | DEX 7 | STA 17 | CON 38 | WIS 28 | CHA 12


 Challenges:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 20  21  22  23  24  25 (Current)

Accountabiddlydoodlies Group                 Current Weight: 106.1kg                      Recipe Book               

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Some people say they can exercise when sick, but I am not one of them. I have always gotten worse. With my most recent cold, however, I waited until I was about 90% recovered, then started exercising again and did not get worse. I think the distinction for me is active vs. going away. Since you said you felt worse after walking, I'd recommend taking it easy and pampering yourself until you are better. Can a Scot "pamper" herself, or does that go against the grain too much? ;)

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." Mike Tyson

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There's nothing wrong with light-moderate exercise with a cold, and in fact it can make you feel a bit better (though not lessen the duration of symptoms) though the cold air might not help (really intense exercise can suppress your immune system though). Scaling back and/or taking a couple rest days through the worst of it is good, not exercising for weeks is bad. You could check out youtube for some videos for some indoor work. The walking videos (they're walking on the spot plus extra moves like kicks to keep it interesting) by Leslie Sansone might be your speed while you recover (there's a legit sample on their website, plus some probably less legit stuff on youtube).

"None of us can choose to be perfect, but all of us can choose to be better." - Lou Schuler, New Rules of Lifting for Women

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There's nothing wrong with light-moderate exercise with a cold, and in fact it can make you feel a bit better (though not lessen the duration of symptoms)

This is a highly individual thing. Some people do in fact get worse if they exercise while sick. I am one of them. From what Sarah said about how she felt after walking, she may be another. People should not ignore their personal experience because of something published in the New York Times. Indeed, one might even say that the article is dubious precisely because it was published in the New York Times!  :playful:

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." Mike Tyson

battle log  | current challenge

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That looks like an interesting study! I'd have used a bigger control group, but I think it's worth having a go at some lighter exercise in the warm. I've never bothered exercising when sick until now so I want to test myself to see what I can get away with. Then I'll be sensible and rest if I still get worse. Leslie Sansone seems like a plan - looks like a great idea for small spaces.

 

Oh, and rum counts as pampering, right? :D

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

STR 18 | DEX 7 | STA 17 | CON 38 | WIS 28 | CHA 12


 Challenges:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 20  21  22  23  24  25 (Current)

Accountabiddlydoodlies Group                 Current Weight: 106.1kg                      Recipe Book               

"I hold... that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life's set prize" - Robert Browning

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Idiot Jar Limit: £5.00        Current Idiot Jar Total: £0.00     Current Idiot Jar Forfeit: [TBD].

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This is a highly individual thing. Some people do in fact get worse if they exercise while sick. I am one of them. From what Sarah said about how she felt after walking, she may be another. People should not ignore their personal experience because of something published in the New York Times. Indeed, one might even say that the article is dubious precisely because it was published in the New York Times!  :playful:

 

Sorry, I guess I missed the memo that explains why Wheat Belly is the gospel truth and everything in the NYT is dubious. It's not like I linked to some fluff piece that said something like "studies show...", it mentions the name of the researchers and describes the methods to an extent.

 

Of course personal experience is a factor as well, but in this case it may be the cold weather and/or the length of the walks, rather than "exercise" at all.

"None of us can choose to be perfect, but all of us can choose to be better." - Lou Schuler, New Rules of Lifting for Women

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Thankyou very much for your help, both of you!

Sarah Barr - Level 13 Warhobbit

STR 18 | DEX 7 | STA 17 | CON 38 | WIS 28 | CHA 12


 Challenges:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 20  21  22  23  24  25 (Current)

Accountabiddlydoodlies Group                 Current Weight: 106.1kg                      Recipe Book               

"I hold... that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life's set prize" - Robert Browning

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Idiot Jar Limit: £5.00        Current Idiot Jar Total: £0.00     Current Idiot Jar Forfeit: [TBD].

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It's pretty specific to the person, and there's a lot of gray area to this. For me, it depends on what's wrong and where I am in the course of the illness. I'm one of those people who gets a cold/minor virus, and then most of it goes away but I'll have chronic cough/chest congestion for weeks afterwards. Exercise actually improves this for me if I wait until I'm past the worst part of the illness and I don't totally drive myself into the ground. And staying mildly active during illness (provided I'm not death-bed ill) is important for me and for a lot of people. That may be as simple as walking up and down the hall for 20 minutes or up and down the stairs a few times. I can get outside 95% of the year, but I live in Texas and don't have to deal with cold air that can be very hard on our respiratory systems. Hospitals prevent lung infections in patients by having them walk hallways, and if they can't get out of bed they do the thing where they breath out hard into a tube a few times every so often. Long periods of total inactivity (especially lying down) can make things worse for a lot of people.

 

But how soon to get back into things and how fast to go back to full speed is totally dependent on the person, the illness and what else they're doing to encourage recovery. Sleep/nutrition/stress/activity and conditioning level before the illness are all going to play a role in how fast someone recovers.

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