Train or Recover: Should you workout when you are feeling under the weather?

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Most of us know what it takes to perform and feel are best when it comes to training: get a good night’s rest, consume adequate amounts of calories to fuel performance through whole foods, stay hydrated, etc. However, some days aren’t always sunshines and rainbows. Life throws a bow and sometimes can knock you out for a bit: sluggish, fatigued, sick, etc. When things like this happen, should we persevere and train or take a break and rest up? Well, that depends on the circumstances.

Headache, cough, achy body, runny nose, is it a cold or something else? If you suspect any form of sickness, consult with your primary physician first and get treatment as needed. Then ask your doctor if it’s okay to exercise. Exercise can exacerbate these symptoms causing you to feel worse than you did before. So before someone tells you to “suck it up, buttercup”, listen to your body and treat it well.

Now, if we are feeling a little under the weather with none of the symptoms from above, some activity can do some good. Stressed? Fatigued? Sore? These may not be indicators of being sick, but the body not being able to recover from other stressors. Light activity such as walking can help get the blood flowing, oxygen into the body, and release some good feeling endorphins. If you must do some resistance exercises, keep it on the lighter intensity side. Scale back movement patterns if they are complex in nature, and do your best. Then re-evaluate what’s made you feel this way. Lack of sleep, food, hydration, etc.? Get those taken care of and things should start looking and feeling better.

Brandon Bailey
MS, CSCS, CPPS, USAW, CFL2

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