I have a cold! Can I exercise? YES please do, your body will thank you!

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Want to feel like this?…women-kettlebell-exercises…But….feel more like this today?…sick…that’s okay!

So you think you are too sick to go to the gym? Well, if it’s day one of your illness and it’s ugly, yes, you may be too sick.  The general rule is if your symptoms are below the neck, stay home BUT if your symptoms are above the neck, and you won’t scare anyone who is in close proximity (you know what I mean!), go go go!!!!  There are numerous health benefits to exercising when you are sick.

According to Medline Plus, physical activity may help by flushing bacteria out from the lungs (thus decreasing the chance and/or severity of a cold, flu, or other airborne illness) and may flush out cancer-causing cells (carcinogens) by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat.

Exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s defense cells) through the body at a quicker rate.  Your white blood cells are components in your immune system that actively seek out and fight various forms of infection. When you exercise, these cells increase their numbers and circulate more quickly through your body. If you don’t exercise too much or too heavily, increased activity by your white blood cells can improve your ability to fight off viral and bacterial infections.  Your white blood cells are also called leukocytes. Along with your red blood cells, leukocytes form inside a spongy material called bone marrow, which forms part of the interior of large bones such as femurs and hip bones. While your leukocytes are commonly referred to simply as white blood cells, your immune system actually contains five major types of leukocytes, including monocytes, neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils, as well as lymphocytes, which are also called T cells and B cells.  When you exercise, elevations in the activity of your white blood cells may allow your body to identify disease-causing organisms more quickly than they would under normal circumstances. This effect may also result from the presence of other parts of your immune system, called antibodies, which also accelerate their activity level when you exercise.

The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.

The temporary rise in body temperature may prevent further bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively. (This is similar to what happens when the body has a fever.)

Exercise slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Stress increases the chance of illness and prolongs episodes of illness.

AND as if all that wasn’t reason enough to lace on those sneakers and head out for a workout, there is this reason – we are creatures of HABIT.  If you are in good rhythm, scheduling in your workouts and making them a regular part of your week, you do not want to lose that roll you are on.  Miss one day if it’s early in your cold and you are in full blown symptom-apolooza, coughing constantly, sneezing 6 times in a row and going through boxes and boxes of kleenex, looking and feeling like death……yes, please, for everyone’s sake, STAY HOME.  *BUT* as soon as you can, get back to it, even if you are still a little sniffly and low energy, you need to keep that app’t with yourself.  Go easy, be kind to yourself, scale back your intensity and duration, but get there and get something done. Then go home, eat a nutritious meal and go to bed early.  You will be proud of yourself, on track and your body and mind will thank you!

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