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Exercise while being sick?

I got an email from a former athlete asking a question about getting ill while training. Dear Rebecca, … read more

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I got an email from a former athlete asking a question about getting ill while training.

Dear Rebecca,
I remember you mentioning something about the relationship between your resting heartrate and your current wellbeing. It was about two years ago when you told me to remind you so that you could send me the link to the information.

I was wondering if it might still be possible and that it isn’t cheeky of me to ask.

Take care!

Naz Yeni
Which spurred me to do some research and write a reply:

Naz, delighted to help. If you take your resting heart rate every morning lying in bed when you wake up. Keep a record. After a week or two you’ll see a clear pattern of what is ‘normal’ for you. Now, if you get a cold or get run down, you’ll find the resting rate is 5 – 10 beats per minute higher than normal. What’s interesting is that this rise shows up before symptoms of a cold virus appear so you know in advance that your sickening for something.

What I found here is also interesting (Info from Mayo Clinc). People asked ..

Can I exercise while beeing sick? Is it really ok, to continue and train if I have a cold?

We would say – depends- : mild to moderate physical activity is ok, if you have a general cold and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

As a very simple general guide for exercise and illness, consider this:

  • Training is usually good if your symptoms are all “above the neck.” These signs and symptoms include those you may have with a common cold, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat. Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout. Instead of going for a run, take a walk, for example.
  • Don’t exercise if your signs and symptoms are “below the neck,” such as chest congestion, a hacking cough or upset stomach. Than you might want to stay at home
  • Fever? Don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches. These symtomes are a no go.
  • Anyway: if your cold will not dissapear after a few days, please consult a specialist. Don’t overdo it.
  • Be careful with medicine: Consult a doctor before taking pills or tablets.

Take a look into yourself. Let your body be your guide. Feeling miserable, take a break. A few days off from exercise when you’re sick shouldn’t affect your performance. Resume your normal workout routine gradually as you begin to feel better. Check with your doctor if you aren’t sure if it’s OK to exercise.

If you do choose to exercise when you’re sick, reduce the intensity and length of your workout. If you attempt to exercise at your normal intensity when you have more than a simple cold, you could risk more-serious injury or illness.

Good luck, Rebecca

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe
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