Should You Exercise If You Have The Flu?

Photo Credit: mcfarlandmo CC-BY-2.0

The best way to avoid the flu is to keep your immune system strong and avoid people who are already infected. Feed your immune system by eating a nutritious diet that includes foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Stress can affect your immune system, too. Exercise is a good way to reduce stress, stimulate your immune system and keep your body healthy. Despite your best efforts, you may get the flu anyway. Should you exercise if you have the flu?

Stress can have a negative impact on your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections. Exercise helps to reduce stress while you get fit. Exercising causes your brain to release hormones called endorphins, which relax your body and help you achieve a feeling of well-being. White blood cells help to fight infections by attacking bacteria and viruses in your body. Exercising moves your blood cells, including white blood cells, through your body faster. Moving these infection fighting cells through your body faster helps to prevent a cold or flu from getting the upper hand on your immune system.
Daily moderate exercise can help boost your immune system, but should you continue to exercise if you have a fever and the aches and pains of the flu? You might want to take a few days off from exercising to allow your body time to fight the infection and heal. Don’t exercise if you have a fever. Exercise while you have a fever can exacerbate your symptoms and may cause dehydration. Stressing your body when your immune system is in overdrive to fight a flu infection may even prolong your suffering. A short walk on a treadmill might be just the boost your immune system needs or it might extend your suffering.  Pay attention to the signals your body sends and rest. If you have fever, aches, pains and feel miserable all over, take a few days off to recover. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

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