Training While Sick

For the better part of this month of November, I’ve been dealing with two bouts of the common cold. Seriously, I feel like crap. What makes it a bigger slap in the face is that I rarely get the common cold, ever.

I’ve always wondered whether or not it was a good idea to exercise while sick. Some people have told me that it won’t kill me and might do some good, others said that any exertion will prolong the cold. Well, I decided to “keep fishin’” during my sick days, and it may seem like it bit me back. I’ve never been this sick for this long.

In this article written by the ACSM, the authors sought out to see if there was any correlation between exercise and illness. As stated in the write-up, surveys have shown that fitness enthusiasts report to experience the common cold and illness less frequently. A study comparing elderly women who walk to elderly women who are sedentary showed a reduced number of common colds caught by the walking women.

However, the same article shows how after one marathon involving 2,311 runners, 1 out of 7 runners caught an illness a week later. So much for working your ass off to complete a 26.2-mile race!

So, we have a fairly clear correlation presented to us. Exercise is helpful during a cold, unless you take it to the extreme. Exercise itself is a matter of breaking your body down so that it can repair, maintain, and even build itself up later on. It may not be apparent with something easy like walking, but running a marathon leaves your body destroyed! When the body is stressed with fighting off the cold virus, additional stress placed on the body from intense exercise can only make things worse.

With that said, there are many other things that act as a stressor to the body. Not sleeping well, not eating nutrient-dense foods, letting the body’s temperature drop,  experiencing psychological stress from work or projects, consuming toxic drugs, etc., are all stressors to the body.

Thinking of it now, I probably should have shortened my workouts. I probably should have went to bed an hour earlier. I probably should have took more time to relax my mind and cut out the stress. I probably should have worn sweatpants and a jacket the day the temperature dropped like crazy. I probably should have not had so much booze on my 21st birthday. It wasn’t exercising that made me more sick, it was exercising while not supporting my body in every bodily-avenue.

All of these little “oopsies” seem to have added up and dwindled my ability to fight off a common cold. I could have continued training while sick without running into issues, but I did myself in with all of the other dumb things. Next time I’ll know better, but until then, I’m suffering from the consequences.

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One Comment

  1. Photo Credits
    Woman sneezing. Author: Ana Omelette.

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