Should you train when sick?
We have all been there. It’s cold and gloomy outside and you get sick. You’re coughing, have a headache, runny nose..just a common cold. But being so used to training almost daily and now you’re supposed to skip the gym session?
Find out when it is okay to still go training when sick or you should rather stay at home
It is only logical, that it depends on how you are feeling if you’re able to do any physical activity or you’re chained to your bed. But there’s more to this topic.
First, you need to understand the immune function. On one side, viruses, parasites or other bacteria are attacking us, but on the other side, we have your immune system. Fortunately, the immune system fights all of those mentioned above. But, you may or may not know, we have two immune systems.
Two immune systems, why?
The first one is an innate immune system, which acts as a certain protecting base. Something like: when you see on Instagram those non-sense detox posts and ridiculous diets, you just roll your eyes and you try to argue that. The innate immune system consists of different types of barriers, for example, physical or chemical ones.
Then we have an adaptive immune system. That one is a bit more complex and made from special cells and processes. Our body uses this system when the innate immune system can no longer protect you and is failing. It fights against different infections, stops colonisation of pathogens and kills microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. The advantage of this system is that it remembers, so when some pathogen ‘attacks’ you again, it will know better how to fight against it more effectively. We can call this process ‘building the immunity’. That is why kids get sick more often, their adaptive immune system isn’t that well developed just yet.
Now that we’ve talked about our immune systems, we can move onto the real question. Should you go train or not when being sick?
You have to realise that any physical activity is putting a lot of stress on your body. When you’re healthy, your body adapts to it quite easily. That means you are stronger, you have more muscles, you just feel better. However, when you’re sick, this extra stress can be super hard on your immune system. So, at the end of the day, it depends on the level and intensity of the physical activity.
Walking, low-intensity exercise or a light training (not weights) can help your immunity. Nevertheless, any high-intensity physical activity can mess your immunity even more and you will be sick way longer than you would be normally. Consistent training sessions can strengthen your immunity, so when you are healthy train hard! If you’re not well, it can mean the complete opposite. Training or generally any physical activity and immune system work together as an ‘U’ if you put it on a graph. That means people who do not exercise have a worse immune system. Also, people who train too much and are over-trained, have the same problem. In other words, the golden mean is the best way to go.
Rule to follow…
There’s this ‘rule’ some people follow. If you’re having symptoms above the neck like a runny nose, sneezing, light headache or a sore throat, moderate exercise can be harmless. Better to train light, but it’s possible. However, if you’re sick from your neck down (e.g. bronchitis), training is really not a good idea.
How to fight it?
To help you fight any sickness of this type, more vitamin C (check our FSC Vitamin C 1000g + Bioflavonoids) is beneficial and glutamine (have a look at our Olimp Glutamine products), especially when you’re feeling like something is coming. The FSC Cantamega is a multivitamin you can be taking all year long to support your immune system. Same with the Revolution Foods Immune system, which is anti-viral and anti-bacterial. If you are after something specifically for sports and active people, then the OLIMP Gold Vita-min Anti-Ox Super Sport is a perfect choice.
But most importantly don’t forget about nutrition, because the chemicals in your digestive system fight against all the viruses and bacteria (the digestive system is about 70% of our immunity). Eat more vegetables and fruit, yogurts and fermented products, it feeds the good bacteria in your body.
To sum up, you can be nervous that you will miss your training session, you will lose your progress and hard-earned muscles. Let us tell you something, you won’t lose anything, and at least you won’t infect other people at the gym or yoga studio or wherever. So, don’t be selfish and don’t make other people sick. If you decide to go and train, we hope you will use some tips from this post, wash your hands and you’ll be healthy and full of energy soon!