Managing Cold & Flu Season With Fitness

woman blowing nose on couch

With cold and flu season approaching again, it’s time to prepare yourself as much as possible. In addition to a flu shot and keeping your vitamin levels intact, it’s important to stay on top of your fitness. Believe it or not, staying active can actually keep you safe from sickness! How? Keep reading to learn more.

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How Working Out Can Prevent Sickness

For starters, if you exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, you will be at a significantly lower risk of respiratory infections. Cardiovascular training strengthens both your heart and lungs and can help your immune system fight off diseases. Studies have shown that people who do cardio training as part of their normal regimen actually have a 40% reduction in sick days during the cold season.

This occurs because regular exercise helps white blood cells move from your organs to your bloodstream. This is where they work to combat and rid the body of foreign pathogens. In turn, this helps you have fewer sick days! The body is amazing, isn’t it? As if you needed another reason to get into the gym.

What about some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to flu season though? What if you catch the flu or the common cold? Is exercise recommended? You should approach this scenario very cautiously. The following tips were provided by the American College of Sports Medicine.

  • DO exercise moderately if your cold symptoms are confined to your head. If you’re dealing with a runny nose or sore throat, moderate exercise is permissible. Intense exercise can be resumed a few days after symptoms subside (in cases of the common cold).
  • DON’T “sweat out” your illness. This is a potentially dangerous myth, and there is no data to support that exercise during an illness helps cure it.
  • DO stay in bed if your illness is “systemic” – that is, spread beyond your head. Respiratory infections, fever, swollen glands and extreme aches and pains all indicate that you should rest up, not work out.
  • DON’T jump back in too soon. If you’re recovering from a more serious bout of cold or flu, gradually ease back into exercise after at least two weeks of rest.

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