When you're feeling sick, the last thing you feel like doing is exercising. One of the best things to do when you're sick is to give your body the rest it needs. But in some cases, a little moderate exercise may actually help you feel better, especially if your sickness includes sinus pressure or a stuffy nose – both considered to be above the neck infections. In those cases, sweating is generally considered safe and may actually help you recover faster. But you have to remember, it's your body and only you can know what it's capable of. If you do feel up to it, consider these exercises for some of the best workout options to stay fit when you are sick.
If you're feeling ill you may not have a lot of energy to go for a jog. That's why walking is a good form of exercise when you're not feeling your best. Just a 20-minute walk can actually help improve many cold symptoms because walking will force you to take deep breaths and will help open up your sinuses. And remember, people who work out regularly tend to get sick less, so once you're feeling better you may want to consider a regular work-out plan.
If jogging is part of your regular routine, you can still continue it if you have a mild head cold or other moderate sickness. In fact, running is considered a natural decongestant and can help clear your head so you can feel better. But if you are planning to lace up those running shoes, it's suggested you scale back the intensity of your normal run since you likely won't have a lot of energy. And if your illness is below-the-neck, such as diarrhea or flu-like symptoms, it's suggested you put off the run all together to give your body time to heal.
3. Qi Gong
This exercise is a combination of martial arts and meditation. It's not an intense form of exercise so you won't break a sweat but it's the perfect workout to reduce stress and anxiety and improve blood flow and increase energy. There is also some evidence to suggest that qi gong has immunity-boosting powers. In fact, a 2011 University of Virgina study found that varsity swimmers who did qi gong at least once a week had 70 percent fewer respiratory infections that those who didn't practice it as much.
Research suggests that stress-releasing exercises, such as yoga, may help boost immunity. As well, stretching can also relieve a lot of aches and pains that come with having mild infections such as colds and sinus infections.
It's time to dig out your favourite playlist and get dancing! You can take a cardio dance class at the gym or just dance around your house for a great workout that will help you feel better for the rest of the day. One study actually found that people who listened to 50 minutes of dance music had less cortisol and more cold-fighting antibodies, helping boost their immune systems. Because dance classes tend to be low impact, you can break a sweat without making your cold worse.
6. Water Aerobics
If you're a runner or spin class fanatic, you may want to consider water aerobics when you're sick, since you will still get to move your body but in a more gentle way. The extra moisture in the air will also help clear your nasal passages. But if you are going to hit the pool, you should keep your head above water so the chlorine doesn't irritate your eyes, nose and throat.
It's still possible to hit the recumbent bike at the gym when you're sick as long as you allow yourself to sit back and do a low intensity workout. This will be enough to get your heart rate up without adding too much stress on your body. Just remember to wipe the machine before and after you use it to prevent the spread of germs.
8. Strength Training
Your muscles don't have to go into hibernation just because you're not feeling well. However, you need to remember that your body is working hard to fight off an infection so you need to go easy on it. Instead of hitting a cardio strength training class, just lift some light weights at home. Keep the workout slow-paced but good enough to get your heart rate going.