So you have a bit of a cough and can’t go anywhere without your trusty box of tissues. Nothing wrong with heading to the gym to ‘sweat out’ your cold, right? Wrong, says Shelley Pearce, a Johannesburg personal trainer. ‘Any sign of illness shows that your body is under stress. It’s best to take some time off and get some rest,’ she advises.
‘The problem is that your heart rate is elevated when you exercise,’ says Pearce. This puts strain on an already overburdened system, especially if you are suffering from a chest infection. ‘The golden rule is that if your symptoms are from the head and chest, and your body is aching, stay in bed. If you have a head cold, see your doctor first and if you do decide to exercise, be careful, as putting extra stress on your body could turn an irritating niggle into something much worse.’
If you’re desperate to train, try some gentle stretching – perhaps a light session of yoga, t’ai chi or Pilates. But, as Pearce says, remember that you won’t be able to perform as well as you usually do.