When you feel really cruddy, no matter if it is from allergies or a cold, do you continue to exercise or just stay in bed?

I’ve been hit hard this year with what I assumed was a cold, but turned out to be allergies. My head was stuffy, I had a sore throat and my nose was a little runny.

Since I never ran a fever, never developed a cough and my symptoms stayed the same, I am confident that it was all allergy related. So, the next question is, do I continue to keep at my normal level of exercise even though I felt pretty awful?

The answer is yes and no. I generally feel better when I am moving so it makes sense for me to keep running, biking and swimming, at least a little bit. I feel like the junk in my sinuses gets moved around more when I have to breath harder and to me, that’s a good thing.

If I can breathe well enough to run, I do, and cycling with a stuffy nose doesn’t usually bother me much. Swimming can be a bit more challenging when I’m not feeling my best and I will cut my swim short or skip it all together if I don’t feel well.

I think I have figured out something with pool swimming and my health. It seems to kill a lot of germs and I generally don’t catch as many bugs as my co-workers in the school where I work.

I’m pretty sure that swimming a couple days a week in a bath of chlorine helps kill all the germs I’m exposed to at the preschool. I have no proof of this of course, no hard data or scientific studies, just an observation, but I didn’t take any sick days last year when the majority of my co-workers had to take several. Something to think about!

Obviously, my lack of illness could also be attributed to the fact that I do exercise and eat well, but I also believe that I balance my rest time as well. Your body is going to heal itself much faster if it is given a chance to repair itself and that happens when you rest.

If your body is constantly being stressed either by illness, exercise or lack of sleep, you are going to get sicker or at least take more time to get better. So, when I’m feeling bad, I might skip an early morning run or swim and opt to sleep in.

My body will get stronger with those extra hours of shut eye than it will with my 3 mile run if I’m feeling really icky.

So, if you’re feeling like crud, maybe go take a walk or go for a little jog, but balance that with plenty of rest and healthy food. Also, please wash your hands and try not spread whatever it is you have to anyone else. Everyone will thank you for that!

Linda Word is an RRCA running coach, ACE Personal Trainer, ACE Nutrition Specialist, owner of ForWord Running Pacers and co-coach for 3 Sport Endurance. Contact her at forwordrunning @gmail.com to get started on your own fitness journey.

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