A doctor tells a patient he has very bad flu. The patient says he wants a second opinion. The doctor says, “OK, you’re ugly too.”
For the last month I have had the same text conversation with my daughter, Kayla.
Me: U get ur flu shot yet?
Kayla: No, no time.
Me: UR gonna get sick and B sorry.
Kayla: In shape, and eat healthy, don’t need.
Me: UR being dumb L.
This past Monday I got an actual phone call from her telling me how miserable sick she is and asking what am I going to do about it. As hard as it was to not say I told you so, I listened to her symptoms and it sure sounded like some kind of crud. I sent her to an urgent care center, where she was told it was a virus and there was nothing to do but wait it out. That has led to daily phone calls asking me to tell her when it is going away and how is she supposed to take her finals, teach Zumba classes, take Crossfit, and have fun when she feels so miserable?
Just because you work out and eat healthy does not guarantee that life will be illness free. For sure, exercising and eating well can help boost your immune system, but you can and will get sick just like everyone else. The key is to know when it is time to keep on keeping on or curl up on the couch with some chicken soup. Here is the 411 on keeping your fitness routine when sick:
— With a fever take a breather: If you have fever of 101 or above, it is best to not exercise until the fever breaks. If your body temperature is already too high, the last thing you want to do is fire up your metabolism with exercise.
— Got the flu? No exercise for you: If you have an official, physician-diagnosed case of the flu, you need to park your workouts until it is gone. Chances are if you cannot lift your head off the pillow, you won’t feel like working out anyway. Give yourself a good week or more of rest to get it out of your system before you go back to exercising.
— Colds are cool if you follow this rule: Working out with a cold is not much fun but will not make you any worse off. The rule of thumb, however, is that if the cold settles in your chest you need to take a break. Chest colds can lead to bronchitis or even pneumonia, which could sideline you a lot longer.
· Stomach ache, take a break: If you are suffering from a stomach virus (vomiting, diarrhea, etc.), you need to take it easy. Having a stomach virus causes dehydration. If you try and exercise while dehydrated, it will lead to muscle cramps and other complications. Do not go back to exercising until you are back to eating your normal diet.
While a fitness lifestyle will keep many illnesses at bay, you still are vulnerable to getting sick. The best way to avoid having to take a workout “time out” is prevention. Getting a flu shot, washing your hands, getting enough rest and eating right can help you avoid getting sick. In the event you do catch the crud, the best advice is to listen to your body and follow its lead. If you absolutely refuse to take a break, think about modifying your workout plan until you feel better. You can take a walk instead of run, do some stretching or yoga instead of a high-intensity aerobic class or exercise less frequently. Just plain missing a few workouts to recover from an illness is the best medicine.
Kathy Hansen has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness field. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.