If you think being sick gives you a free pass on exercising for the day, think again! Exercising can actually help with many illnesses and conditions, from chronic asthma to the common cold. Still, being active should be a positive experience, not a miserable one. Here are some tips on how to gradually get moving when you’re sick.
Chronic conditions are medical conditions that last a long time, perhaps even a lifetime. But this doesn’t mean having a chronic condition dooms you to a lifetime of couch potato-ing. In fact, you can often alleviate symptoms with exercise.
Please note that the following is general advice. To be safe, you should always speak to your doctor before starting a fitness routine.
If you have asthma, you may hesitate to exercise, but with some careful planning and education, you too can reap the benefits of physical activity. For example, moderate-intensity activities like walking, biking, and swimming can be enjoyable. On the other hand, cold-weather sports like skiing may trigger asthma symptoms.
Just make sure you’ve taken steps to address your asthma. Ask your doctor about both rescue and long-term medications. You can get affordable asthma medication like ADVAIR® Diskus from online international and Canadian pharmacy. Here, American patients can connect with licensed pharmacies in countries where drug prices are more heavily regulated.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It seems counterintuitive to exercise when you have a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Yet, benefits of doing so include better cardiovascular health, reduced shortness of breath, elevated mood and energy, and even more effectiveness in your body’s use of oxygen.
You should definitely talk to your doctor first, however. A program called pulmonary rehabilitation may also be helpful, allowing you to gradually build activity under the supervision of health-care professionals.
Worrying about getting a heart attack while exercising is understandable. However, developing cardiovascular disease as a result of inactivity can also result in a heart attack.
As with COPD, talk to your health-care provider first. You may need to abstain from exercise if you’ve had a recent cardiovascular event.
However, if you’re stable, exercising your heart can make it stronger! Make sure you increase the intensity gradually, take plenty of breaks, and warm up and cool down. Avoid exercising in very hot or very cold environments.
Listen to your body. If you experience more serious symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, or nausea, stop and find medical help.
Infectious diseases like the common cold are usually short-term, but they can make you miserable. While bed rest is important in fighting infections, exercise may be good too.
Common Cold and Influenza
According to the American Lung Association, if you have symptoms “above the neck,” you’re probably all good to exercise. In fact, some people find exercising helps with their symptoms. Being outside in the crisp, fresh air can relieve your congestion. Scaling down the intensity of your workout may be beneficial, though.
However, if your symptoms are “below the neck,” which includes chest congestion and body aches, you may have a more serious illness than the common cold, such as the flu, and bedrest would be preferred.
Pneumonia can last quite long and can be quite severe, so bedrest )at least in the initial stages) is likely your best choice. The British Lung Foundation recommends slowly building up physical activity and doing deep breathing exercises. They also provide an estimated timeline of your symptoms here.
Left untreated, pneumonia can be fatal, so make sure you visit your doctor and take prescribed antibiotics if necessary.
Having clinical depression can make it impossible to get out of bed. But if you try your best to do so, you’ll discover that physical exercise can be extremely helpful in alleviating your symptoms. In fact, exercise triggers the release of a feel-good chemical called endorphins, along with stimulating nerve cells to grow and make new connections in the brain. If exercising seems too intimidating for you if you have depression, try not to sweat it! Start with a very doable goal, like five minutes of walking, and go from there.
Go Outside and Work Out!
For many illnesses, as long as you have it under control, exercising is not only safe but beneficial to your health. Just make sure to speak to your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, bring emergency medication if required, and listen to your body. If it’s feeling strained, it’s okay to take a break.