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If you have just started a new exercise routine or you are in full swing of training for a marathon – both require good physical and mental health. If you get struck down with a cold or you are returning from a significant illness, its important to listen to your body.
There is a difference between exercising through a runny nose and sore throat and trying to exercise when you are sick in bed with a fever and significant lethargy. Our bodies generally give us a good indication of when they can function normally and when they cannot. When we are healthy our bodies are designed to cope with the stress of a hard training session, making us fitter and stronger. When we are sick, our immune system is lowered and will not cope with the stress of what may be your normal training session.
This is where we all need to pay attention, exercising with more severe symptoms such as a fever, body aches or nausea will increase your body temperature and in turn make you sicker for longer if you try to push through it. If you miss a few sessions it is important to remind yourself that all the flu needs is rest.
If your symptoms are less severe such as a runny nose, you may still be able to exercise but a different form might suit you better such as walking, a bike ride for fresh air or yoga. This will help you feel active and will allow you to maintain some form of fitness but it wont stress your body with the high demands you normally put your body under with a 2 hour training run.
Exercising is a way to boost your immune system, therefore if you exercise regularly you shouldnt be sick very often, but if you are, its a sign to rest.
Pushing your body too hard can result in more significant illnesses such as glandular fever and chronic fatigue which leaves you more than likely unable to participate in your goal of a marathon or whatever you have been training for. If you are training well you should have begun training early enough that if you do need a week or a few sessions to rest it wont be detrimental to your overall performance.
Here are some signs both physical and mental that may lead to a plateau in your performance:
-You are physically exhausted – lacking sleep or poor nutrition.
-You spend hours doing cardio and hate it – your heart rate is not getting high enough to achieve results.
-You are stressed – more so than normal. In this case, exercise can be an added stress.
-Your muscles are over-sore. You are not allowing adequate rest days.
-You are burnt out – there needs to be a balance to ensure you are able to maintain your routine.
-All in all listen to your body – it usually gives us an honest account of how it feels. Look after your body – you only get one!
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