Sick Gains: Training when Under the Weather

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Credit: Jessica Jiamin Lang

By Sarah McGowan

So your summer training is going great. You haven’t missed a workout and you have been meeting all of your performance goals. You were playing well in Fantasy tournaments and MLQ series. Then one day you come down with an illness. What do you do next? Can you still workout?

If you have a cold or any general “under the weather” feeling, the answer is yes. Exercise can actually help your body get rid of whatever virus is circulating in your system. Movement makes it easier for your lymph nodes to come in contact with harmful viruses, thus making it easier for your lymph nodes to produce virus fighting cells. Just remember to bring a pack of tissues to the gym because your nose will probably run more as your body tries to get rid of harmful bacteria and viruses. Also, make sure to use disinfecting wipes to clean up after yourself so you don’t make anyone else sick.

If you can’t do a full workout, any movement helps as long as it does not worsen your symptoms. Take it slow: go for a jog or do submaximal lifts and stretching. The point is to minimize the loss of any possible strength, power, speed etc while you are trying to fight illness. Even if that means substituting push-ups for the bench-press, anything is better than nothing at all.

DO NOT ATTEMPT ANY EXERCISE IF:

  • You feel nauseous upon exercising or at any point.
  • You have vomited from the illness.
  • You feel extremely fatigued.
  • You were hospitalized due to your illness.
  • Your doctor said no.
  • You have no appetite.

Please listen to your body and be honest with yourself when you are sick. Workouts are important, but it is more important to let your body fight off whatever illness is in your system.

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