Should You Run When You’re Sick?

flu Recently, with the season change, several people have inquired as to whether it’s safe to run whilst sick. Y’all know I follow the rule of “Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.” Which included my 10.5 km run yesterday with the start of the cold. However, I am reblogging this article from Runners World, because they get into a little more depth. Hope it helps!

Should You Run When You’re Sick?

By Marc Bloom

Runners seem to live by a creed that’s stricter than the postman’s: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sniffle, nor fever shall keep me from my training schedule.” Indeed, the coming of winter presents many issues for runners who’d prefer to keep at it even when sick. Oftentimes, symptoms aren’t severe enough to make you stay in bed, home from work, or off the roads. And while exercise can give you a mental and physical boost when you’re feeling run-down, there are other occasions when going for a run may do more harm than good.

David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the “neck rule.” Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.

This view is supported by research done at Ball State University by Tom Weidner, Ph.D., director of athletic training research. In one study, Weidner took two groups of 30 runners each and inoculated them with the common cold. One group ran 30 to 40 minutes every day for a week. The other group was sedentary. According to Weidner, “the two groups didn’t differ in the length or severity of their colds.” In another study, he found that running with a cold didn’t compromise performance. He concluded that running with a head cold–as long as you don’t push beyond accustomed workouts–is beneficial in maintaining fitness and psychological well-being.

But, doctors say, you still walk, or run, a fine line. Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs. Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavity that affects 37 million Americans each year. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, and facial pressure. With a full-blown sinus infection, you rarely feel like running. But if you do, consider the 72-hour rule of Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D.: “No running for three days,” advises the allergist/immunologist and ultramarathoner in Little Silver, New Jersey. Even without the presence of a fever, says Dr. Dobken, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.

Not surprisingly, winter weather increases risk of sinusitis. In dry air, the nasal passages and mouth lose moisture, causing irritation. “The sinuses need time to recover,” says Dr. Dobken, “just like a knee or foot.” So Dr. Dobken recommends including treadmill running in your winter training regimen.

Another option for sinusitis sufferers is pool running. “The water adds moisture to nasal passages,” says John J. Jacobsen, M.D., an allergist in Mankato, Minnesota. Pool running is preferable to swimming, says Dr. Jacobsen, because chlorine can be irritating to the nose.

If you’re still in doubt about whether it’s safe to run or not, take your temperature. If it’s above 99 degrees, skip your run. “Some people think that they can ‘sweat out’ a fever by running,” says Nieman. “That’s wrong. Running won’t help your immune system fight the fever.”

Nieman saw this firsthand when his running partner once ran a marathon with a 101-degree fever. Soon after, the runner developed severe and persistent symptoms similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome. “Every day he’d wake up feeling creaky and arthritic,” says Nieman. “When he tried to run, he’d stumble and fall.” Eventually doctors concluded he had a “postviral syndrome,” a latent condition that was exacerbated by the race.

Although this syndrome is rare, it’s an example of the risk you take by running while ill. “Running with a fever makes the fever and flu-like symptoms worse,” says Nieman, “and it can lead to other complications.” During exercise, your heart pumps a large amount of blood from your muscles to your skin, dissipating the heat your body generates. If you have a fever, your temperature will rise even higher, and your heart will be put under greater strain to keep your temperature from soaring. In some cases, this can produce an irregular heartbeat. Also, a virus can cause your muscles to feel sore and achy; exercising when your muscles are already compromised could lead to injury.

Nieman recommends that runners with a fever or the flu hold off until the day after the symptoms disappear–and then go for a short, easy run. Runners should wait one to two weeks before resuming their pre-illness intensity and mileage. Otherwise, you risk a relapse, he says.

Above all, obey your body and the thermometer–not your training program.

Know Your Limits

How much running can compromise your immune system to the point of making you sick? For average runners, the dividing line seems to be 60 miles a week, according to David Nieman, Ph.D., of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University. Nieman conducted the largest study ever done on this question by examining 2,300 runners who competed in the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon. “The odds of getting sick were six times higher than normal after the marathon,” says Nieman, “and those who ran 60 miles a week or more doubled their chance of getting sick.” The illnesses were of the upper respiratory tract, including sinus infections. Nieman says there’s no doubt these findings are still applicable to runners today. He’s also used himself as a test case: When Nieman trained up to 90 miles a week, he constantly battled sore throats. When he dropped his weekly mileage below 60, the symptoms stopped.

Guest Blogger: Roni Davis tackles FASTED CARDIO!

Guest Blogger Roni Davis on RunningKatTalesSo, Kat asked me how beneficial and safe it was to do fasted cardio. I laughed because it’s SUCH a controversial subject. I’ve read some fairly heated debates from some of the top pros in the industry arguing both sides with points that are all really compelling. Below, I’ll provide a link to one of my favorites but if you’re not interested in reading a lot about the science behind it, the two basic schools of thought are as follows:

Pros: Proponents say that you will burn more fat than if you eat beforehand.

Your body stores glycogen to use as its preferred source of fuel during exercise. The idea behind fasted cardio is that your glycogen stores would be somewhat depleted first thing in the morning after fasting overnight. Having less glycogen available to use as fuel, it would switch and use fat stores as its next source of fuel, allowing for a greater amount of actual fat being burned.

The key to this being successful seems to be that the intensity level of the exercise stays in the low to moderate range. When your body exercises at a low intensity, it uses more fat than carbohydrate.

Cons: Opponents say you’re burning less calories and that it’s a recipe for muscle wasting.

Because the work is easier, you’re not burning as many overall calories so you’d have to work for a longer period of time than if you were training hard. You shouldn’t run sprints or do some other high-intensity exercise as the lack of glycogen in your system wouldn’t allow for it. This makes it a definite no-no if you’re training for a race, endurance event, etc. It’s also said that all fasted cardio manages to do is burn off muscle, rather than fat.

My take is that like most things, there are no absolutes. If you spend some time looking, there are studies to support both theories.

The bottom line for me? I train with a team of the most perfect bodies in the world and most do some form of fasted cardio or another first thing in morning. That’s good enough to convince me …when done properly and depending on your goals, of course!

How’s that for a clear as mud answer?

Click to read more on this subject!

Day 142: “We danced to save lives…” @BAMCalgary

bust a move kat and sueToday was the day, BUST A MOVE CALGARY! 

I was up bright and early; got myself into my fabulous 80s attire and hit the road for the LRT. I made a pit stop at the local Starbucks where the server and I had a laugh over the fact that I looked like I was doing the “walk of shame” after a night of 80s partying. Not the case – yet funny.

I hopped off the train and was greeted immediately by BAM Calgary volunteers – it was such a well organized event! There was fresh fruit, water stations, juice and other healthy snacks. They had step-and-repeats (like red carpet) and representatives from Alberta Cancer who explained what the funds we raised would actually do – let me tell you, it’s very impressive (FYI: 60% cancer cure rates FROM 40% in a short period of time…)

Wedgie and I were nervous about what six hours of fitness would entail, but I don’t think it was as bas as we thought (though there were some points I just wanted to lay down on my mat!) We started off with zumba, then bootcamp and had our first break, which I needed! During the break there were lots of booths to roam around and learn from. We made our way to the Virgin step-and-repeat, where they had Richard Simmons, Justin Bieber and Adam Levine. I tried to take off with the Adam Levine cut out, but got busted….

adam levine

When it was time to hit the mats again, they let us know by playing “Eye of the Tiger” – totally genius. We started off the second part with hot yoga. I enjoyed it, but my hands kept slipping on the mat (however, they gave us the mats to keep which I thought was totally nice!) And then we had kickboxing with one of the most energetic people I have ever seen in my life. For real. I have a feeling most of my soreness tomorrow will be from this segment!

Finally, the moment we were all waiting for: the segment with Richard Simmons. He didn’t realize there were some non-huggers in the audience. Howie Mandels worst nightmare. But all good sports!

richard simmons at BAMWe did a few songs that Richard both wrote and performed. It reminded me of workout videos my mom had back in the day. Lots of smiling and laughing! Then he gave us the opportunity to come up on the stage. That was a lot of fun. I am super uncoordinated at the best of times, but I knew this would probably be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so I decided to record some of it. I know I was getting the side-eye from some people, oh well!

Finally, after the cool down he called us all up to the stage clip for the last part of his segment. I am laughing & singing. It was fun 🙂

BAM raises 170kWhat a day! There was lots of sweating during the six hours of exercise, but we all know that it’s for a terrific cause – funds and awareness for breast health. After all was said and done, the Calgary gang raised a whopping $170,000 – pretty impressive for the inaugural year!!

richard simmons tweeted me! The VERY best part of the day was when Richard Simmons tweeted me!

 

tutu Here is one of the most awesome pics from the day, Sue doing running man during the Hip Hop session. Better watch out Calgary, when we hit the town for girls night we’re bringing mad dance moves!

Thank you to the team who put BAM on here – major, major, major kudos. Putting an event together is a lot of work and you’ve done a phenomenal job! Can’t wait for next year!!

 

Guest Blogger: Melanie Bowen + exercise and cancer

cancer_more than ribbonLiving with cancer can be one of the most difficult things that you do in life. You might be wondering about your future and what you can do in order to feel better each day. The truth is that exercise and a healthy lifestyle can be wonderful options for just about any cancer patient. It does not matter if you were recently diagnosed, undergoing treatment or are in remission, exercise is still a great way to improve the quality of your life. There are a few ways that exercise can accomplish this for anyone who’s suffering from mesothelioma, breast cancer, or any other type of cancer.

Exercise helps you both physically and emotionally. Physically, exercise helps to provide you with more energy and releases feel-good endorphins into the body. If you can remember that great feeling you got after your last workout, just imagine that feeling being incorporated into your daily life and the impact it will have on you during treatment. As a cancer patient, you may be dealing with anger, depression and sadness. Exercise can help you to feel more alive and energetic when things around you seem glum.

When it comes to the emotional aspect of exercise, it is easy to see the benefits that it can have for you. For one, just getting away from your everyday surroundings is a way to feel better in general. Whether you decide to join a local gym or just make regular trips to the park, it is easy to see why so many people exercise every single day, whether they have cancer or not.

As always, you should speak with a health professional before you begin an exercise regimen. Your doctor will be able to tell you how much exercise is enough for you considering your current state of health. This will help tremendously when it comes to helping you get the best out of your daily routine, especially during treatment. Exercise is healthy for just about anyone of any age, so incorporating it into your everyday schedule is a fantastic thing for when you’re undergoing cancer treatment or are even in remission. You will find that the benefits you reap from exercise help tremendously when it comes to your physical strength and your ability to feel better about your situation. Speaking with a knowledgeable health professional will help you to determine what is right for you when it comes to an exercise schedule.

Melanie Bowen 

Day 139: thirty minutes of the elliptical & comic relief from @jenna_marbles

“Don’t ever compare yourself to others. STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR OWN JOURNEY. And leave footprints behind.”

we are not racing on the treadmillToday was a cross training day at the gym. It was nice to do thirty minutes on the elliptical. I had the incline set to 10 and my speed was around 14. It was enough of a push to get me sweating, but not so much that I’ll be in pain tomorrow for my 19km run. Ow.

Not too much to really share from the gym. But there was a gal next to me who kept checking out my screen. I was really tempted to start a conversation with her so it wouldn’t be as awkward as it was. I never get people who get a kick out of comparing themselves to everyone else. Does it really matter if you’re going faster than the person next to you? If they’re burning more calories? At a higher incline? What difference does it make?

It reminded me of the e-card that has been floating around saying, “If you’re on the treadmill next to me, the answer is yes we’re racing.” But I don’t think most people actually feel that way. I definitely don’t. And it also reminded me of the amazing video by Jenna Marbles: “People that piss me off at the gym.” There is no way you can watch this video and not laugh.

Have an awesome Saturday friends!