If you exercise regularly, inevitably, a sickness or an injury will occur that may have you asking yourself what to do.  Do you continue working out? Do you rest? Do you see a doctor?   Here are some tips for exercising while sick or injured that help you decide what course of action to take.

Tips for exercising while sick or injured  # 1 – Head Cold

If you have a Head Cold: Do you work out or sit out? Why?

  • Use the neck rule
    • If the symptoms are sneezing, runny nose, or a scratchy throat, then it is okay because it actually can make you better faster
      • However, do not overexert or overdo it, otherwise it will make the cold worse
  • If the symptoms include fever, coughing, or other bronchial issues, then it is best to sit out
    • Exercising makes things much worse, and can cause even more serious illnesses

Tips for exercising while sick or injured # 2  – Stomach Bug

If you have a Stomach Bug: Do you work out or sit out? Why?

  • Do not work out.  Give yourself time to rest
    • The stomach flu and other stomach bugs causes dehydration, which is bad since you need plenty of fluids when battling any ailment
    • Stomach ailments also cause fatigue and vomiting
    • It is important to be able to keep down all foods, without any cramping or pain, before trying to work out again

Tips for exercising while sick or injured # 3 – Sore Muscles

If you have Sore muscles: Do you work out or sit out? Why?

  • Muscle soreness is perfectly normal after a workout – it means the muscles are getting stronger
  • It is important to stretch the muscles after working out
  • If the pain is minor, then just take it easy and do lighter workouts
  • If the pain is more severe, then it is best to rest the muscles

Tips for exercising while sick or injured # 4 – Foot Pain

If you have Foot pain:

  • Do you work out or sit out?
  • Should you act differently for different kinds of pain, i.e. stubbed toe versus heel pain or heel clicking?
  • Any instances in which you should immediately see a doctor?
    • It is best to stop exercising immediately so as to ensure not to further aggravate the injury
    • Rest the foot until the pain goes away, regardless of the injury
      • Take over-the-counter pain medications
      • You should go to the doctor:
        • Before starting an exercise program
        • If the pain does not go away
        • If you cannot put any weight on the affected foot

Tips for exercising while sick or injured # 5 – Back Pain

If you have Back pain: Do you work out or sit out? What about chronic pain versus acute pain?

  • Doctors do recommend doing some exercise, gradually increasing intensity, to help heal the pain
    • This is regardless of whether it is acute or chronic
    • Some doctors do make prescriptions for Pilates, elliptical machines, and water aerobics

Tips for exercising while sick or injured # 6 – Menstrual Cramps

If you have Menstrual cramps: Any evidence either way?

  • Exercise does help relieve the cramps
    • Releases beta-endorphins (i.e. the morphine that naturally occurs in the human body)
    • Increases blood flow
    • Releases chemicals that burn the chemical that causes the cramps
    • It is important to do 30-minutes of aerobics, 3 times a day
      • Anything more intense than aerobics can worsen the situation
      • The belief is widespread

Sources:  Livestrong.comLivestrong.com, TheGuardian, NY Times, MedicineNet.com, WedMD,  Livestrong.com

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