So winter is well and truly upon us here in Sydney!
Am sure I am not the only one layering up and trying to keep well despite the numerous colds, bugs and illnesses doing the rounds.
A common question I get asked in clinic is what to do about exercise once you feel yourself getting sick. I know how hard it can be to get into a good routine, so understand the dilemma!
Should you try and "sweat it out?
Should you bunker down and rest?
Generally I advise a conservative approach, with my 3 tips outlined below.
Focus on sleep and hydration
Although I go on about these 2 variables a lot of the time, I up the anti if a client mentions they are starting to feel under the weather. Whether its feeling a bit run down, a scratchy throat or just feeling more aches and pains than usual, it is always a good idea to make sure you are getting adequate (and more if possible) sleep and you are keeping a close eye on your water intake. We want to make sure your body has the best chance of fighting a bug, and giving your immune system adequate sleep is a great place to start.
Still want to exercise? Lower the intensity
If you are worried about skipping your exercise session, or have a routine that you don't want to miss, turn the intensity down. Normally go to a boxing class? Try a light walk instead. Normally like a high intensity strength session? Try a body weight session with ample rest. Whilst your body is trying to fight an illness, it will struggle to manage the effort involved in also helping you recover from a tough exercise session. Am obviously a big fan of exercise wherever possible, but would generally advise a session targeting mobility (with a reduced intensity) if you aren't feeling quite right.
If in doubt, rest.
Seems simple, but a good rule of thumb. If you are unsure about how you will cope during or post the exercise session, then I would generally advise to rest. Resting for a few days can do wonders in the grand scheme of things if it means you can recover from that impending cold/bug that bit quicker. Keep up any incidental activity that you have in your daily routine, and then make a comeback to training once you have fully recovered.
The tips above are only 3 of a variety of actions that are possible. Knowing that winter is always that bit more challenging to navigate from a wellness perspective, make an effort where you can to keep up the sleep, water and vegetable intake. Here is a previous blog about how to stay motivated to keep up the exercise in the winter months in case you need that extra boost!
Otherwise happy training :)