Caucasian female with flu blowing her nose

Sneezing. Coughing. Stuffy head. To workout or not workout. That is the question.

This isn’t a question you ask when you’re in bed with a 101 degree fever and could only run if the house was on fire. Of course you’re going to skip your workout!

Rather, this is for those ambiguous times – when you feel bad, but not that bad.

Here are three things to ask yourself before you slip on those workout shoes.

  1. Beside your symptoms, is your overall energy lower than normal?
  2. Does increasing your movement make your symptoms worse, or more intense?
  3. Does your energy feel normal, but plummet when you begin to exert yourself?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then it would serve you well to hold off on the exercise and focus instead on getting some rest.

Here’s why.

When you’re fighting a cold, your immune system is revved up. Afer all, it has a battle on its hands.

And guess what the immune system requires to fight that battle?

You guessed it. Energy. Lots of energy.

So what happens when you shuttle a large portion of that energy into a workout? Well, the workout is the “squeeky wheel”. Since the workout takes center stage, energy must go there. Which leaves far LESS energy to fight the virus. Like the troops, mid-battle, all of a sudden calling a time out. So does the virus say, “Oh, no problem, you go take care of that and we’ll be here ready to pick up where we left off.”

Heck no!

Instead, it’s like they got a free pass. With the energy otherwise occupied, the immune system loses strength and the virus begins to win.

Translation: You feel worse, for longer.

And after the workout? That’s right. You need to recover from the workout.

Recovery time is a tug-o-war between either repairing and rebuilding, or fight off the virus.

If you decide to rest instead of workout – don’t worry. The days that you’ll miss will actually be less if you don’t drag them out by handicapping your immune system. So you’ll be stronger once you get back in the gym, and easily “make up” for lost time (not that you need to do that anyhow, since this is a lifestyle!).

So what if you answered no to those questions?

Well – go for it! That’s right, you read me.

With one caveat:

Monitor how you feel. Just because you answered no to those questions doesn’t mean that they can’t turn into a yes once you break a sweat in your second HIIT interval.

The takeaway is to be smart about deciding to workout with a cold, and listen to your body. Keep in mind that it’s a journey and a few days rest is likely a good thing – because as a lifestyle, your overall health is the number one priority.

Love to hear your thoughts! Contact me through the green tab to the right 🙂

Stay well,

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