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Your Personal Trainer: Working out when sick

Q. I get frequent sinus infections and head colds. I feel like it’s OK to continue my workouts but my wife says I should be resting. Who’s right?
Rob W.

Oh boy, I don’t want to get in the middle of a marital “discussion” (not even my own)! Fortunately, you’re both right – depending on what ails you. First, please understand I’m not a doctor (though my mother would be so proud), so do not take any of my examples as medical advice. You should always consult with a medical professional whenever possible, especially if you have underlying conditions.

For your stated situation — head colds and sinus issues — you can usually ontinue to exercise, though you may wish to consider a slightly less vigorous workout depending on what you like to do.

The general rule of thumb in exercise circles is that if you’re sick from the neck up, it’s probably safe to continue your workouts. This would include head colds, sinus infections (swimmer’s beware), slight coughs, and a sore throat.

There are a number of fitness experts, health professionals and doctors, who believe “exercise is medicine.” Depending on your condition, exercise may actually help you recover. But remember the saying, “don’t exceed the recommended dosage.” In other words, too much exercise can inhibit your healing.

If you’re sick from the neck down, you should take your wife’s advice and get some rest. These conditions would include a hacking cough, lung impairment, or a fever with body aches.

Trust that your body will communicate to you what, if anything, you should be doing. In these days of COVID-19, listening to your body would serve you well.

I usually workout six days a week. A couple of weeks back I felt unusually fatigued, so I skipped my workout and took a nap. I woke up four hours later with a fever and body aches that would come and go for nearly five days. Although I was anxious to start my workouts, I listened to my body (and my own advice above) and took it easy. Fortunately, it wasn’t COVID and I recovered fairly quickly.

So, when your body talks to you, listen!

As for disagreements with your spouse — do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?!

Have fitness questions? Send them to me, Your Personal Trainer, at PersonalTrainerQuestions@gmail.com and write ‘Ramona Sentinel’ in the subject line.

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