When can I work out again after flu?

flu So I’m on day four of one of the nastiest flus I’ve ever had in my life. It started Thursday with chills, nausea, headache. On Friday I just took it easy but had a sore throat and was congested. By Saturday evening I was nauseous again and early Sunday morning I was very, very sick. To date, I’ve lost 8lbs. Gross. But despite still feeling miserable, all I want to do is get back to a routine.

So I was curious to find out when it would be safe for me to return to exercise, so naturally I started googling. It’s hard to believe, but despite still feeling awful, I cannot wait to lace up my shoes and ditch the couch for fresh air.

The first thing that’s a good indicator is your resting heart rate (as long as you know what it is when you are healthy!) “Elite athletes check their resting heart rate daily,” says Dr Mark Wotherspoon, a sports physician with the English Institute of Sport. “If the resting level is 10 beats per minute above normal, this would be an indicator not to train.”

As I’ve posted before, generally we go by the rule of thumb that anything above the neck and you’re safe to train, howeve, anything below the neck (in the chest etc.) and you should rest.

But is it safe to sweat out a cold? According to Dr. Alex Nieper: “Bringing up your body temperature is a way of fighting a virus,” says “But keep the activity light to moderate – and brief.” He went on to say that hard exercise will actually compromise the immune system, which ultimately allows the virus to strengthen its hold. So if you exercise with major cold symptoms (e.g.: fever) you can prolong your illness and it can be very dangerous.

The best part of my googling came when I read this, “There’s a tendency to think that if you miss a couple of days of training, it’s a disaster. But the quality of your training is at least as important as the quantity. Training when you’re not 100% well isn’t going to give you that quality.” AMEN.

With that, it goes without saying that it’s important to return to exercise with caution.

  • Take time to monitor how you feel
  • Stay hydrated (especially if you’re a sucker like me and just had a stomach bug),
  • Avoid getting wet and cold
  • Look out for telltale signs that you are overdoing it (e.g.: work-out feeling harder than it should, shortness of breath, weakness or dizziness.

Sports medicine peeps recommend that you start with a gentle 10-minute work-out and see how it feels. If that’s OK, gradually increase the challenge the next day, and again the day after. If you’re still feeling fine, you can gradually work your way back to where you were. But they warn:  Don’t try to make up for lost time. Push too hard, too soon, and you might end up back where you started.

TIPS to stay well when exercising

Stay well hydrated Dehydration dries up the mucous membranes, allowing infections to take hold.

Eat and drink after training Within half an hour of training, eat a carb-based meal or snack with a little protein to help maximise the replenishment of fuel stores.

Take probiotics A new Australian study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that taking probiotics during winter training more than halved the number of days endurance athletes suffered cold symptoms.

Don’t overtrain Balance your training with adequate rest and recovery. One study found that runners who average more than 96km a week were twice as likely to suffer from colds as those running less than 32km.

Wash your hands after the gym “The best advice is to not touch your nose or eyes when exercising and to wash your hands when you finish your workout,” says Professor Eccles.

Don’t linger in damp clothing after exercise As you cool down after a work-out, the cold, damp clothes will lower your body temperature further, making you more susceptible to catching a cold.

Info/Tips from Guardian UK

Day 124: 4 miles on the elliptical

AMT Yesterday morning I hit the gym bright and early so that I got training out of the way. I couldn’t believe how busy the gym was at 7 am… unreal! Kudos to all you dedicated people; getting up on a Saturday morning is tough!

So I did about 3.8 miles on the elliptical and then I hopped over to a new machine from Precor Adaptive Motion Trainer  it was crazy! I had no idea that such a thing existed. It was kind of like walking on a bosu ball. It shows you how strong your stride is and they claim that it’s the only piece of cardio equipment you need. I thought it was totally tough. I was going pretty hard for ten minutes and I was finished with it (side note: old guy – CRANKY OLD GUY – was on the machine next to me.)

Here are some specifics about the machine (which I will definitely be trying out again):

  • Adaptive motion: By allowing you to alter your motion at the slightest whim of your imagination, no two workouts have to feel the same. This keeps your mind engaged and your body torn between wanting to experiment with new movements and needing a second to catch your breath.
  • Stride Dial: Evolve each of your workouts with the knowledge that every time you observe the AMT’s stride dial you’ll be getting a crash course in learning about the muscles of your body and how they respond to different movements
  • Contralateral arm movement for natural motion: Arm and leg movements are coordinated, reflecting the way you naturally move through life.
  • Dual-plane resistance refines workload: A patented system that applies resistance to both horizontal and vertical planes of motion, adding yet another dimension for you to customize your workout.
  • 0- to 27-inch stride length provides unlimited variation: Choose your movement and change it as often as your heart and mind desire. Adaptive motion helps create new possibilities and rewards.
  • Stride Dial tracks muscle engagement: Monitoring your motion in real-time, you get instant feedback on how your muscles respond to different movements.
  • Dual action provides both upper and lower body workout: Arms are engaged with pushing and pulling motion to provide the ultimate in total body engagement.
  • Bio-feedback center with SmartRate provides dedicated feedback on heart rate and calories. SmartRate shows your heart rate in relation to the target zone for weight loss and cardio training.
  • Numeric keypad makes data entry and Cardio Theater control easy
  • Tap Control provides satisfying tactile and audible click so you feel confident and safe operating the product
  • Heart rate monitoring and compatibility with heart rate telemetry reading using an optional chest strap
  • Accessory holders for water bottle, portable music, reading material and more
  • Two-step powder-coating process applies rust-resistant undercoat and cosmetic topcoat to steel frame
  • QuickStart lets you begin workout with the push of a single button
  • Enjoy integrated entertainment: An optional Cardio Theater personal viewing screen can be integrated into the console, providing you with entertainment options while keeping you moving in the correct biomechanic position.

I was a little concerned that I would be sore from pushing so hard, but had no problems this morning. If you have the opportunity to try this out – go for it. It’s on my “home gym” purchase list.

Happy Trails!