Although physical activity can help boost your immune system,
people who are sick should tone down their workout or skip it altogether,
"Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress and
sleep better at night. This helps boost your immune system. However, vigorous
exercise and extreme conditioning can have a negative impact on your health if
you're sick," Joe Berg, a personal trainer and fitness specialist at
Loyola Center for Health, said in a Loyola University news release.
"When fighting a viral illness, it's best to keep your
exercise session short and not as intense. If you have a fever or stomach bug
it might be best to hold off," Berg added.
For those recovering from an illness, it's best to ease back
into a workout routine slowly. Berg recommends starting small with some light
aerobics, such as walking and cycling at an easy pace as well as body weight
squats, push-ups and planks. In the plank exercise, you rest your weight on
your forearms with your elbows directly beneath your shoulders, keeping your
body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
"These exercises cover the major muscles of the body
and when performed in moderation, can help boost your immune system,"
For people worried about being exposed to germs at the gym,
Valerie Walkowiak, medical integration coordinator at the Loyola Center for
Fitness, pointed out that heading outside or working out at home may be a good
way to stay healthy and fit during the cold and flu season.
"Weather permitting, it's always great to just get out
of the house and walk or run to get in some cardio exercise. Just make sure you
wear the proper clothes to keep warm. This includes layers of clothing, a hat,
scarf, gloves and appropriate shoes," said Walkowiak.
At home exercises is
When the weather makes exercising outdoors impossible, there
are ways people can work out at home -- even if they don't have special
equipment. Walkowiak said you can get your heart rate up without leaving the
house by climbing the stairs, jogging in place or doing jumping jacks. She
added that a home-based circuit training routine can be created by alternating
two to three minutes of these cardio exercises with 30 to 60 seconds of
strength-training moves, such as push-ups, squats, seated rows or heel raises.
"You don't have to have dumbbells, bands or tubing to
get in some strength training at home. Try using household items to add
resistance such as soup cans, gallon jugs of water or your own body
weight," Walkowiak noted.
In order to target all the muscle groups, Walkowiak
recommended doing the following exercises:
shoulder and triceps: do push-ups on the floor or against a wall
rear shoulders and biceps: try seated or standing row exercises using
glutes and core: perform squats, sit-to-chair stands or lunges
do heel raises on the edge of a step
do planks, abdominal crunches, abdominal twists and leg raises
do bicep curls using soup cans
using a soup can or weighted object do kickbacks or over presses
Anyone who does go to the gym should remember to wipe down
machines and wash their hands often, the experts advised.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
about how to stop the spread of germs.