Should you exercise when you are sick?

Ah the age old question, when you wake up and feel unwell is it better to plough on regardless, or get your pjs on and reside to the sofa?  Some people would quite gladly find any excuse not to get their trainers on. But for those of us who hate to miss a training session it can be extremely frustrating, especially if you are working towards a goal.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to decide if you should be continuing to exercise, or if it’s probably more sensible to take a break.

How sick are you? It sounds like an obvious question, but assessing how unwell you feel is essential. If you feel a little off colour, like the beginning of a cold, then you are probably safe to continue exercising, albeit at a lesser intensity. Getting some gentle exercise, some fresh air and plenty of healthy food could help to make you feel better. However, if you feel worse after your workout then it’s time to take a break and rest for a couple of days.

How to know when it’s time to rest! If you wake up feeling achy and fatigued and you have to peel yourself out of bed to make a Lemsip, then trying to drag yourself out for a run or to the gym is only going to be detrimental. The same can be said if you have a fever, stomach cramps or flu like symptoms. Continuing to battle on is likely to prolong the length of your illness

Should I stick to my diet when I’m sick? Again, this one takes some self diagnosis of how unwell you are. If you are still able to eat your usual healthy diet and it doesn’t upset your stomach, then yes you should continue to carry on. We would however advise that if you are on a particularly low calorie diet, that you increase your calories slightly whilst you are unwell, especially if you have a fever as your metabolism will be higher and therefore you will be burning more calories. We don’t suggest you use this as an additional weight loss aid as you are likely to feel light headed and faint.

What can I eat to make me feel better? There are many wives tails about eating chicken soup and dry crackers when you are sick. But with little medical researching we cannot advocate them as a cure for the common cold. However, a soothing bowl of soup along with plenty of fresh fruit & vegetables is certainly going to go some way to helping your body fight off bugs. But we would also say that if you have a sickness bug and the only thing that stays down is a jam doughnut, then go for it!

Prevention is better than cure! It’s likely you are reading this article because you are already unwell and are looking for advice, but preventing illness is always better than try to cure it. However, we all get unwell from time to time, but living a healthy, fit and active lifestyle is an extremely powerful tool in illness prevention. Taking regular exercise, eating a diet rich in lean proteins like our liquid egg white, as well as whole grains and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will give your body the best possible chance of fighting off infections which can lead to illness.

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