Still Workout if I Feel Bad

Q & A: Should I Still Workout if I Feel Bad (Or Am Under the Weather)?

Q & A: Should I still workout if I feel bad (or am under the weather)?

A: Yes.  Exercise is one of the most powerful and important tools available to help your immune system step up.  The harder the better.

Intense exercise is like giving your immune system a cup of coffee, and inactivity is like giving it a whole rack of ribs… the first gets it going and working, and the other puts it to sleep. 

More specifically intense exercise boosts the number of immune cells circulating in your blood stream 10x, and pushes them to the places where they are needed most like your lungs and sinuses.  Additionally, exercising intensely enough that you sweat activates something called heat shock proteins, which are important in immune function. 

Lastly, regular exercise keeps your immune system young and fresh.  This means that regular exercise triggers your body to get rid of the older, less competent immune cells so they can be replaced with fresher ones. 

What about resting?

If you mean “rest” as a synonym for sleep, then sleeping is very important for your immune system.  However, if you mean “rest” as shorthand for “being extremely sedentary” (avoiding exercise, lying down while awake and minimizing your step count), then this sort of “rest” is horrible for you in general and your immune system in particular. 

One example is that being extremely sedentary increases the risk of developing pneumonia.  A reason for this is because being horizontal and avoiding heavy breathing make it much easier for pathogens to multiply.

Sleep = good.  Netflix marathon = bad.

What about spreading my germs?

It is important to be considerate of others.  The more you exercise the less you shed, and it is impossible to give specifics specific guidelines for every situation.  In general, if you would feel uncomfortable exercising next to yourself then exercise the golden rule.  If you don’t come in, we have ZOOM.  We can make it happen with whatever you do or don’t have.

Bottom Line

If you don’t feel good that is a reason to exercisenot an excuse to skip.  Exercise boosts your immune system right now and long term, while being sedentary gives the infection the upper hand.

You have probably heard the opposite of this advice, so if you are skeptical please take the time to read some of the research yourself (this and this are a great start).

Bonus:  Fever?

Last point to touch on is fever:  “Blocking fever can be harmful because fever, along with other sickness symptoms, evolved as a defense against infection. Fever works by causing more damage to pathogens and infected cells than it does to healthy cells in the body.” Here’s the rest of that article.

Stay moving, stay healthy!

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