Should you work out with a cold or the flu? Winter is coming, and this time of the year invariably raises that question. Here are some pointers about bodybuilding and colds, cold prevention and if vitamin supplements will help.
Runny Nose Or Fever?
Personally I have a very simple question I ask myself should I feel a cold caught up with me: Is there fever or isn’t? Because fever is a sure sign your body has to fight against something more serious and needs all its resources.
If I just suffer from a runny nose or a slight headache, I will attempt my workout and usually, although my performance won’t be stellar, the session will go alright. If there is fever on the other hand, I call it a day and let my body concentrate on pooling its resources.
Because working out with a fever puts more stress on top of what the body already has to cope with. This can prolong recovery and, instead of just one or two missed workouts, might mean things drag on for a couple of weeks.
Some people tend to think, heah, I’ll just take an aspirin (or any other medication that works against fever and headaches) and bang, no fever and I am ready for my workout! Which is rather shortsighted. Fever and headaches are just symptoms and them gone doesn’t mean your body is back to 100%. It still has to work hard against the illness – you are just noticing it less.
Of course, the best thing is not getting a cold in the first place. Two simple measures can help you: Getting enough sleep and washing your hands. Sleep refills your body’s energy reserves, allowing optimal function of your immune system, while keeping your hands clean means less viruses will have a chance of entering your system.
Cold viruses stick to surfaces, like door handles, computer mice, other people’s hands etc., and can survive there for quite some time. If you touch one of these surfaces and then, for example, eat a burger or something else you directly hold in your hands, you may transfer a virus from your hands to the food and from there into your body. Therefore washing your hands one or two times more often than usual may go a long way during cold season.
Vitamins And Other Supplements
Vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and a host of other supplements are marketed with the promise that they’ll protect you from colds. Research has shown that they do very little in terms of cold prevention; all you might get is a slight reduction in the length and severity of symptoms. Your best bet still is sleep and washing your hands.
Here is the video to this article:
Picture courtesy of Erik Stabile.