I Am Not Feeling Well. Should I Exercise Today?

         We are entering the end of cold and flu season yet bacteria are still in the air and the stress of school is increasing.  Exercise is a great tool to conquer both of these things, stress and sickness. Exercise can help flush out access waste that hold bacteria and even cancer causing cells, this is done through sweating or urination. Exercise allows your body to send white blood cells to the rest of your body at a faster pace allowing them to fight off these bacteria sooner.  Exercise has also been proven to decrease the stress in our lives. Stress has been proven to harm the immune system so it is important to keep it to a minimum while trying to avoid getting sick.

          One of the biggest questions is whether to exercise when you are sick. It is important to know your limits with exercise. Vigorous exercise, such as constant marathon training can actually be detrimental to the human body because it can decrease the amount of white blood cells in the body and increase stress-related hormones in the body. If you keep the intensity, mode, and length to a minimum, exercising while sick can actually decrease some of your symptoms. Specifically, if you have a head cold exercising can actually open your nasal passages and temporarily relieve nasal congestion. Remember to listen to your body and its needs, if you are extremely fatigued or have an upset stomach it might be time to take a day off.

References

Hewitt MJ. Writing an exercise prescription. In: Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 90.

Hemial H: Vitamin C and common cold incidence. A review of studies with subjects under heavy physical stress. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 1996: Vol 17, p 379-383.

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