We all know how it feels to walk into the office and spot an obviously sick co-worker. Your first thought is, “I’m so glad I just bought more hand sanitizer,” and your second one is, “Stay far away!”
While catching a cold or the flu can seem inevitable during the winter months, research shows that you can do things to reduce your risk of getting sick and the duration of any illness you might catch. One of those things is being active every day. One study found that the duration of illness was decreased by 43% for those who were active five days a week verses those who are exclusively sedentary though out their day.
The severity of the illness also decreased by 32% to 41% in the study’s subjects. The study concluded that “perceived physical fitness and frequency of aerobic exercise are important correlates of reduced days with [an upper respiratory track illness] and severity of symptoms during the winter and fall common cold seasons.”
For those with a consistent fitness routine that gets sidetracked by illness, you might wonder if you should continue your routine. The answer to that is yes and no, according to researchers. By exercising or working out at your normal pace when you’re ill, you might actually cause more stress to your immune system. What doctors do encourage is physical activity rather than just sleeping off your cold. “Non-strenuous” movement includes walking (like on your treadmill desk), low intensity bike riding, and even gardening during your cold has its benefits– along with staying hydrated and getting some rest so you could get back to your normal routine quickly.
If you want some tips on exercises that are perfect to practice when you’re feeling under the weather, check out this video!