I don’t know about you, but it’s been a pretty bad cold/flu season here in the Kraft household.
First, I came down with my first cold (flu?) in about three or four years, and it was a whopper. I still don’t know if it was a milder version of the flu – (Yep. I had my flu shot. But new reports say the developers kind of slipped…and didn’t guess it right with as much accuracy as past years. It’s only something like 56% effective; even less so if you are over 65) – or it was just a bad, old-fashioned, stubborn cold.
Then, hubby got the bug. Around the same time, younger son was treated to his own
Anyhow, it’s two weeks later and I still feel some remnants of congestion, although I’m happy to report I’m not grabbing for a tissue every five seconds.
One thing I made sure to do as soon as I was able was to haul myself to the gym. Granted, a cold may be severe enough to deplete you of any available energy or keep your miserable body safe and under the covers. And naturally, to put yourself around people when you’re spewing germs is inconsiderate and just not wise.
But, if you’re feeling up to it – and your symptoms are all “above the neck” (meaning a case of the sniffles, a stuffy nose, sneezing or scratchy throat) – exercise may actually do you some good.
- It can open up your nasal passages and relive congestion
- It can boot your immune system by fighting off simple bacterial and viral infections
- It can flush bacteria out of the lungs – thus decreasing your chances of catching a cold, flu or other airborne illness
- It can speed up the rate of antibodies and white blood cells – when they circulate more rapidly, they can detect illnesses and other foreign invaders earlier than they might have done normally
- It can temporarily raise your body temperature, which may allow your body to fight infections more effectively (similar to how your body works when it has a fever)
If you’re feeling a bit under the weather and willing to exercise, it’s likely you’ll have to pare down your normal routine. I had to decrease the speed, intensity and length of my workout considerably when I first went back to the gym. But it only took a few sessions to work back up to my normal routine.
And if you are motivated to use exercise as a way to boost your immunity and not get sick in the first place, be cautious: more is not necessarily better. Studies have shown that heavy, long-term exercise (like marathon running and intense gym training) could actually have the opposite effect, and actually decrease the number of disease-fighting white cells and increase those unwanted stress-related hormones.
Otherwise, a sniffle, a scratchy throat? You’re good to go.
You may come back feeling like a whole new person.