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Exercising while sick

So - when you are sick, at what point do you stop exercising? When do you start it back up? I've been having a nasty sore throat for a whole week, and have now lost my voice, but I feel pretty good in my body. I've not been exercising, trying to get better, but I don't know, maybe exercise would help me get better? What's your advice and what do you do when you are sick?

Sun. Apr 2, 1:00pm

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I think I read somewhere that it's ok to exercise if you're sick from the neck up - if it's lower than the neck, like in the chest than absolutely not.

Of course, take it easy if you do exercise while feeling sick in the neck up because you are still sick and your body needs its energy to heal you. If you don't feel up to it don't force yourself!!

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 1:07 PM

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My trainer told me no, absolutely not, under any circumstances should you exercise if you're sick. Fighting illness takes energy from your body and if you work out, you're depleting your body of the energy it needs to help you get better. Now, of course, different trainers, doctors, experts, etc. will tell you different things, but I will tell you from personal experience that I was sick for two weeks with just a regular old head cold, and he told me not to work out at all, but to continue to stick to eating healthy. I did just that, and I dropped a couple of pounds and my body fat percentage had stayed exactly the same by the time I got back to the gym.

Kate (kissmekate02)

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 1:45 PM

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So - I decided to take a slow, 10 minute walk outside. Not exactly exercise, but something to get my blood moving a little bit. And I visualized my body bringing healthy air etc to my body. I feel a little bit better. And now I'm resting.

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 2:23 PM

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I'm an avid weight lifter and a nurse. I don't work out when I'm sick. As another poster noted, your body needs energy to heal. A short walk is a good idea, but you should rest.

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 4:10 PM

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To add on - after my nice 10 min. very short walk, I took a nice 2 hour long nap! Wish me well.

Sunday, April 02, 2006, 9:37 PM

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Definitely don't exercise while sick--you'll just prolong the agony...

a little walk for fresh air is probably okay, but i wouldn't do prolonged physical activities (like aerobics or weight lifting!)

Also, if you're a part of a gym, would you want someone to come in with their sick germs? Not too pleasant, but you could maybe re-infect yourself or others through the sweat and other germs that get moved around while exercising....

Monday, April 03, 2006, 12:41 PM

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agree with the above poster - no to gym-going. Gyms are full of pretty yucky stuff, even the cleanliest ones. The difference is when we're healthy our body just fights off the germs and we don't even notice, but when you're sick and your immune system is compromised I'd stay away from the gym.

I wouldn't cut calories either (just have enough to maintain). When I'm sick, I always imagine my white cells attacking all the infections, secreting the enzymes and crashing the germs. That must take some energy, so on the cellular level, we probably burn many more calories than moderately moving our limbs :)

Monday, April 03, 2006, 1:31 PM

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Actually, whenever your body is colder or hotter than "normal" Temperaturature, it burns more calories just regulating its temperature....

Hmmm maybe that's where the saying "Starve a cold, feed a fever" came about?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006, 12:08 AM

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When to start working out?

Ok, i came down with a stomach virus on Friday night. I stayed home from work yesterday but i'm back today. Any suggestions on when i should hit the gym again? Would tomorrow be too soon?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006, 8:30 AM

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I think the rule of thumb is that virus incubation lasts 3 days, so you should be not contagious anymore...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006, 9:52 AM

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when is body ready...

i guess my question is when will my body be ready to handle a work out? How many days of rest do i need?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006, 12:05 PM

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I would suggest checking your heart rate -- it will typically be much higher when you are sick and your body is still fighting something (even when you are at rest or feel fine). An elevated rate is a great indicator if you are either about to get sick or are still recovering. Rehydration is particularly important for stomach bugs, so if you are feeling good, have been drinking plenty of water, and your heart rate is normal, then go for it.

If you aren't accustomed to checking your heart rate (which is a really useful thing for exercise), take your pulse first thing in the morning for a week and use that as your "resting" hear trate. Once you start moving around during the day it will go up a bit, naturally, but if you check it in the morning when you think you might be ill, you will be able to get a good idea of whether it's time to stock up on kleenex or not.

There is also no harm in taking one extra day off if you are uncertain rather than go and have a bad experience.

Stomach bugs are awful and I hope you are feeling better!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006, 5:57 PM

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Why not try some gentle stretches or yoga? You sound anxious to get back to exercise, but take it slow. Good health to you!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006, 6:21 AM

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I'm the nurse again. After a stomach virus, make sure your GI tract has returned to normal. Then take it slow. It may take up to two weeks to return to your normal work out routine. Your body is really tapped of energy when you are recovering and if you feel great in the morning but need a nap after getting out of the shower, you should wait a little longer. Start gradually. And as someone else posted, rehydration, esp after a stomach bug, is very important.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006, 8:17 AM

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Well, I worked out this afternoon...just something light. I walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. I didn't break much of a sweat. But, i wanted to do something small. I feel ok and plan on hitting my normal routine tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006, 8:06 PM

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