Should You Exercise When You Have the Flu?
Regular exercise has numerous benefits. Not only does it help you to stay healthy, but it also improves your mental well-being. However, sticking to your workout routine can be tricky if you have the flu. According to a study by the American Journal of Medicine, regular exercise increases white blood cells. Consequently, your immune system is boosted. But what happens when you already have the flu? Do you keep exercising or stop until you feel better? The answer to that is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of exercise when you have the flu.
Pros of Exercising With the Flu
Influenza viruses cause the flu. It targets the lungs, nose, and throat. Fortunately, the body can successfully fight off the disease. Most people recover in four to seven days without medication. It is okay to continue exercising while sick, provided you do it in moderation. Here are the benefits.
- Breaks Congestion – The biggest complaint when you have the flu is nasal congestion. Exercise can temporarily help ease congestion. The increased circulation relieves the pressure in the sinuses, making it easier to breathe. A cardio workout is all you need; nothing too strenuous.
- Improved Mood – There is never a great time to have the flu. It can hit at the worst time possible when you are trying to beat a deadline. In such situations, it might be hard to have the much-needed rest. A light workout helps release endorphins that help boost your mood.
- Better Sleep – Even light exercise that raises your body temperature can help you get better sleep. A good night’s rest ensures you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the next day.
Cons of Exercising With the Flu
Although regular exercise is known to boost the body’s immunity, it is not the best therapy. Fighting the virus is physically taxing for your body; adding exercise to the mix may not be in your best interest. Here are the reasons why it’s better to rest when you have the flu.
- Slow Recovery – One common symptom of the flu is high-body temperature. The body loses a lot of moisture when the temperature is elevated. Exercising has a similar effect on the body; the combined effect of the two causes dehydration. A dried-out body can slow down the recovery process.
- Shortness of Breath: The flu targets respiratory organs, such as the lungs, throat, and nose. The congestion in the sinuses makes it harder to breathe. The effect is worse for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma. Straining could lead to complications, such as difficulty with breathing.
- You Could Spread It – The flu is airborne and highly contagious. It spreads to other people around you when you sneeze or cough. Resting for a few days while you recover helps in preventing further spread of the flu.
Hopefully, this article provides the insight you need. The body is under a lot of stress when battling the flu. It is better to rest for a few days before resuming regular exercise. Skipping out on a few days of exercise is probably the better option.