Can I exercise when I’m not feeling 100%?

The weather is chilly and you may be feeling under the weather. Do you have a workout routine and are wondering whether to continue or rest when you’re not feeling your best?

Most opinions on this lead to the same conclusion: Listen to your body! If you have a mild cold but still feel okay, go for it. It could make you feel better. However, if you don’t feel well at all and you would have to force yourself to work out, don’t.

How exercise helps:

• Can flush bacteria out of the lungs (reducing the chance of a cold, flu or other airborne illnesses)
• It sends white blood cells and antibodies (the body’s defence cells) through the body at a faster rate. When the white blood cells and antibodies circulate more quickly, they can detect illness earlier than normal. In addition, the faster rate of blood circulation can prompt the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of unwanted bacteria or viruses.
• The prevention of bacteria growth can occur from the temporary rise in body temperature. Similar to a fever defence mechanism the heightened temperature helps to fight the infection more effectively.
• The release of stress- related hormones are slowed by exercise. Chronic stress reduces the effectiveness of the immune system leaving you open to illness. However, strenuous exercise such as marathon training can increase stress therefore increasing your susceptibility to illness.

Suggested exercises:

Anabolic (strength building) exercises e.g. yoga- low intensity movement aids the movement of lymph fluids around the body
Remember! If you are feeling really ill, make sure your body has the nutrition it needs and rest!

18/12/2014