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HEALTH NEWS: Working-out while sick

Updated: Friday, January 24 2014, 09:02 AM CST
It's the time of year when new year's resolutions to exercise are in full force.

But it's also the time of year when many of catch colds.
So can you keep working out while your sick?
Regular exercise is good for the immune system helping us fight off simple infections such as colds.  But should we continue to work-out when we're sick? 

Experts say that depends on how sick you are. 
The Mayo Clinic says a good rule of thumb, is to use the "neck rule" as your guide. 

If your symptoms are above the neck, such as a stuffy nose or sneezing from a mild cold, then you're generally ok.  But if your symptoms are below the neck such as a bad cough, fever, muscle aches, or nausea  - exercising is not recommended.  The exertion could make things worse. 

And pay attention to how you feel. If mild symptoms get worse, give yourself a break and try another day. 

If exercise is agreeing with you, it may still be a good idea to lower the intensity.  If you're a runner, take it down a notch. If you like fitness walking, slow it down a bit.

If you lift weights, experts suggest you workout at home instead of at the gym so you don't infect others. 

If you've been sidelined because of an illness, don't sweat it.  Fitness experts say getting back into shape should be fairly easy.

And remember, one of the best way to keep from getting sick in the first place is to exercise year round

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Flu Signs and Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:


Flu Symptoms (more intense than common cold):

  • Fever 
  • Body aches
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Dry cough are more common and intense
  • Chills
  • HeadachesCommon

Cold Symptoms:  
  • Stuffy/runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever is rare
  • Slight body aches
  • Mild fatigue

Source: Centers for Disease Control

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