A bout of influenza can knock you on your backside harder than a boot camp. According to ACE, the smart thing to do is to stay down and get plenty of rest. While research has established a positive link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system, that doesn't give flu sufferers the green light to exercise during or immediately following their illness.
Here are some general guidelines to follow:
· If you have symptoms of a common cold with no fever and your symptoms remain above the neck (runny nose, head ache, mild cough), moderate exercise such as walking is generally safe.
· You may want to cut your intensity and the duration of your workout until your symptoms are gone. The important thing is to listen to your body.
· If you are going to work out with a cold, it's best to do so away from the gym or group classes until you are no longer contagious. During "Press Play for Fitness Month," which starts on Friday, Jan. 18, ACE is offering free online access to a new, full-length fitness video that will be uploaded weekly, for four weeks, at www.ACEFit.com/PressPlay.
· If there are symptoms or signs of the flu (fever, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, swollen lymph glands), then at least two weeks should probably be allowed before you resume intensive training.
Endurance athletes, including marathoners and triathletes, need to be particularly careful about resuming their exercise routines, gradually building up to pre-illness levels. Research shows that more than 90 minutes of high-intensity endurance exercise can make athletes susceptible to illness for up to 72 hours after the exercise session. This happens because during intense physical exertion, the body produces certain hormones (Cortisol and adrenaline) that temporarily lower immunity.
The good news is that once you have recovered from a cold or flu, regular moderate exercise can boost the immune system. For more tips and advice, you can go to ACEFitness.org for all of your fitness needs.
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