Should You Work Out If You Have the Flu?

Hey Angels and Alphas,

Even if you’re feeling terrible, there’s always one question that surfaces when you have the flu: Should I work out? It’s a valid question, since working out can make you feel even worse and dehydrated than you already do.

But did you know that staying in bed while suffering from the flu can be harmful to your body as well? Here are some reasons why it might not be such a bad idea to exercise when you have the flu.

What is The Flu?

The flu is a viral respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Those who are at higher risk of serious flu-related complications include young children and people with chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes). Symptoms include high fever (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), headache, fatigue and muscle aches. These symptoms are often followed by chills, dry coughs and nasal congestion.

In-Home Relief

If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s best to stay home and rest. A lot of people might be tempted to hit the gym or head out for a run in an effort to sweat out their fever, but it’s best not to overexert yourself when you have a fever and congestion.

The Downside of Working Out When Sick

You know that feeling you get when you’re sick, and all you want to do is curl up on the couch with Netflix on in the background? There’s a good reason for that. Working out while sick can exacerbate your symptoms, and make it harder for your body to recover. When we exercise, our body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which can suppress your immune system.

That means you’ll be more vulnerable to getting sick again in the future-even if this was just a 24 hour bug! Working out also puts pressure on your respiratory system, which will only make breathing more difficult and leave you feeling worse faster than sitting around would.

Don’t Overdo It

The flu is a virus that causes fever, body aches, cough, sore throat and fatigue. These symptoms are often worse than with other viruses that cause colds. The best way to feel better and avoid spreading the flu is to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids and avoid contact with others as much as possible until you start feeling better. This means that you should not go to work or school or go out into public while you are sick.

Get Quality Sleep

To get quality sleep, it is important to have a room that is dark and quiet. As a side note, if you are not sick, you should try to go to bed at around 10:30pm or 11pm. This will allow your body enough time to fall into deep sleep before it’s time for your alarm clock to go off in the morning. In addition, try not to eat too much and avoid caffeine in the evening hours. Finally, keep your bedroom temperature comfortable and wear something comfortable to bed.

Stay Hydrated & Eat Well

Stay hydrated and eat well to help your body fight against the virus. It is important to maintain good nutrition while you are sick because your immune system will not be working at full capacity. Stay away from dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and greasy foods as these will irritate your stomach or cause heartburn which can make you feel worse in general.

Avoid fatty foods because they take a long time for digestion which can worsen nausea or vomiting. Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal tea, and broth to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes.

Consider Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

For athletes, anti-inflammatory supplements may be a better option than working out when suffering from a cold or flu. Athletes who are on strict training schedules and have limited time to recover can use these supplements to reduce the inflammation that is caused by the illness.

These supplements work by suppressing inflammatory cytokines, which are molecules that are involved in inflammation. Anti-inflammatory supplements are not for everyone because of potential side effects such as stomach problems and headaches, but they may be worth considering if you’re an athlete with a strict training schedule who needs to get back to training quickly.

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