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Should You Work Out When You Are Sick?

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My work out schedule was going strong. For over a week, I had succeeded in adding a daily work out with Jillian Michaels and her 30 Day Shred DVD to my current program. For the second week in a row, the numbers on the scale were slowly going down. I felt determined and motivated.

Then Sunday morning came around and I woke up coughing. My throat felt raw, my head hurt and I felt drained. There was no mistaking it, I was getting sick again. Not again, please not again.
I wasn’t full blown sick, it was just beginning. I certainly didn’t want to be sick and hoped to keep my busy days on schedule. I began to wonder if pushing through and continuing with my exercise could actually help me fight off this cold. So I researched and found the following information on cnn.com, written by Judy Fortin.

According to Dr. Rick Kellerman of the American Academy of Family Physicians, “I tell people to listen to their bodies. If they are sick, their body is telling them something is wrong. Even though it may be tempting to not break an exercise routine, working out may actually prolong the illness. It is a myth that you can sweat out germs and toxins.” He acknowledges that, "low levels of exercise increase endorphins and benefit the body, but an intense workout that creates high levels of endorphins can wear down the immune system."

“Kellerman advises his patients to skip their workout if they have a fever. It puts too much stress on the heart, which already is beating faster because of the higher body temperature. If you're suffering from chest congestion, coughing and shortness of breath you also shouldn't work out. Exercising with a stomach ache will probably make you feel worse," he added.

"If you have the sniffles and milder symptoms of a cold, moderate exercise is probably OK. When you're feeling better, don't start back at 100 percent. Start at a lower level. Give yourself time to recuperate [or] you might relapse or prolong the illness."

I read about the “neck rule” from cnnhealth.com writer Ray Hainer.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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