Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Training during illness

Following the immunity theme, and while cold and flu viruses are doing the rounds, I thought it would be sensible to do a piece on how athletes can manage their training during this time. We all know that athletes are tough cookies, especially endurance athletes, and try to get out and train no matter what.  This, however, is a bad idea when you have a cold or virus! It is better to back off for a few days rather than end up with a much more serious condition.

One general rule is that light exercise is OK if all symptoms are above the neck, including a mild sore throat, stuffy nose and headaches. If any of the symptoms include a very sore throat, fever, fluid in your lungs, coughing, body chills and aches, exhaustion, diarrhea or vomiting, athletes should take a day off from training. If complete rest is more than you can handle, light general stretching may help.

If athletes are too ill to train, athletes should rest, drink plenty of hot fluids and still try to eat healthy, even if there is no appetite.

Once the below-the-neck symptoms have resolved, athletes should wait an additional day before resuming training.  The initial workout should be a light recovery-paced session, as should all exercise until all of the above neck symptoms disappear, and resting heart rate has returned to normal. Gradually build the intensity and duration of the sessions, paying attention to recovery, hydration and nutrition.

Hopefully the disruption to your training will be minimal and a regular routine will shortly follow. You won't loose a substantial amount of training in the 5 to 7 days that it normally takes to overcome a common cold.  In fact, with adequate rest and recovery, you may come back stronger than ever.

Related Posts:
Christmas and the Immune System
BCAA and Immunity
Immunity and the Athlete

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