Thursday, July 26, 2012

Should We Exercise if We're Sick?

It shouldn't be a struggle for a normal person: if you're sick, you take a break from your fitness routine.

Notice I qualified that sentence. "Normal person." I don't think I'm in that camp.

So, I have a sinus infection. (Again. I know. I know!) However, once the "can't move my head without wishing I was anywhere but in my own body" ends and the "feels miserable but not enough to stay home and curled up in bed" begins, I have to ask myself: Am I working out today?

Some days it's easy to answer that question. It's those days where I think I might be able to pull it off that are tougher.

My trainer would tell me to sit it out unless I was better. Of course, my trainer also eats breakfast before he works out (even first thing in the morning! At dawn!) and uses tools of destruction like Bosu and resistance bands. I can more easily sift through his recommendations and decide what works for me.

What he would tell you is the same thing he would tell me: if you don't feel well, don't work out, period. And eat before you work out.

And yet... I know this sinus infection is not forever. During that healing time, if I start to feel better, I want to take advantage of my new-found strength. I want to go to the gym, climb on my favorite machine and watch (bad) television for an hour. ("Bad" is not my choice, but the offerings by the management.)

Plus, what if healing takes longer than I would prefer? I've "started over" with running more times than I want, and it's less pleasant each time. I don't want to hurt like that — so if it won't kill me, shouldn't I go ahead and do a little? I'm not contagious. I'm going to be feverish anyway. Plus, I know the difference between feeling punk and being sick enough to go to bed (despite evidence to the contrary).

Should I stay on the sidelines until I'm fully healed? Or do I take to the road or gym and push just enough to make it worth the laundry?

- Chris