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  • Dr. Kaustubh Radkar

Do you exercise when you are sick?

Should you exercise when you are sick?

With the monsoons chances of you get a viral is much higher, the question trainees always ask me is, “Should you exercise when you are sick?” With this article I am writing a few pointers for you to follow, as always please take physicians advice before heading out, this is not medical advice.

Exercise adds stress to the immune system, when you are healthy it is a good stress, however when you fall sick this may overburden the immune system in turn. Lets take a look at common issues we all face, especially with change of seasons or in monsoons.

Cold, sinus infection, upper respiratory infection: If you have a head cold, typically stay away from water till it clears. Biking maybe ok, but with running with it may be a bit more hurtful upon impact. Anything above neck, exercise may neither help nor hurt, so be wise. A low to moderate intensity exercise regimen can help in relieving symptoms.

Fever: Rule number 1 with fever is stay home! Don’t come and spread your germs, but exercise will over stress your immune system, delaying recovery so you are better off taking a few days off till fever subsides, then slowly getting back into routine. Number 1 mistake people make is as soon as their fever subsides, they go into exercise full throttle, it may cause a relapse of your fever, so better to sit out a few days, then slowly build.

A lot of time sore throat, running nose, body ache is a sign that flu maybe around the corner, start taking care of yourself by increasing fluids, adding extra Vitamin C either with supplements or with oranges/ orange juice. This can boost immunity and help fight off germs. During this time, it is ok to take a day or two off and rest your immune system or go for a nice easy walk to stay active.

Allergies: Typical symptoms of allergies include headache, puffy eyes, running nose. I feel generally when you take any anti-histamine (anti-allergic) medications, you should not exercise with that in your system. Better to take the day off and come back the next day in this case.

Don’t forget to add some warm fluids such as chicken soup, veg soup, and try to minimize caffeine intake when you are sick as it will dehydrate you. Eat proper food, don’t use sickness as an excuse to diet, your body still needs all essential calories.

A few days off won’t kill you surely, it will only make you come back stronger. Again these are just simple guidelines, always consult a physician before going on the road. Happy training and have a great racing season ahead. Cheers!

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