Family crises, visitors and vacations can cut into your exercise regimen. So can allergies, colds, fevers, bumps, bruises, sprains and strains.
A few simple suggestions have been delineated by IDEA, an organization of 23,000 health-and-fitness professionals around the world, to help you avoid becoming too physically pooped to participate.
- "Neck check:" if you have above-the-neck symptoms like runny nose, sneezing or sore throat, moderate exercise is generally safe as long as you have no fever. With such below-the- neck signs as tiredness, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, swollen lymph glands or hacking cough, take at least two weeks off before returning to intense activity.
- Fever: don't exercise when you have one. A fever indicates you're battling a virus and exercising in this state increases the risk of dehydration, heatstroke and heart failure.
- Cold or flu: modify the intensity if you contract one of these. Don't try to sweat your way through the ailment with intense exercise. You might make your illness worse.
Moderate exercise is fine for a cold, as long as your heart rate and body temperature do not increase excessively.
- Over training: this can suppress your immune functions and increase your exposure to infection. Also, trying new and harder activities can lead to failure, causing stress that can influence your immune system.
Choose activities you enjoy and can do consistently to maintain your regimen and bolster your immunity.
- Regular program: researchers have found a link between regular exercise and improved immunity response. During moderate exercise, immune cells circulate more quickly through your body and are better at destroying viruses and bacteria.
- Infection: avoid becoming infected or infecting others. Be alert to air quality if you work out in a gymnasium or other training facility.
Exercise at less-crowded times during the cold and flu season. Exercise outdoors whenever weather permits.
- Use common sense: it's difficult to exercise when you're coughing, so rest and drink plenty of fluids.
- Temporary illness: don't let this stop you permanently. Resume your exercise program and activities as soon as you can rather than drift into sedentary habits.
- Return to exercising when you're ready: making up for time missed can drain your immune system so keep a lower and slower pace for two days for each day you were sick. Give your body time to recover.
- Consult your doctor: Even if an illness is minor, check with your physician. It's better to be safe than sorry.