Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ February 2013

Fitness Fun

Workout Strategies for the Cold and Flu Season

By Valerie Merriweather

Should you workout with a cold?  What about the flu?  Studies show that a good workout can help reduce stress and help you sleep.  It’s no surprise that a moderate workout can do some good when you’re not feeling well.  However, the tricky part for most folks is deciding when to workout and when to skip a day at the gym.  Below are my top five workout strategies to keep you moving and (hopefully) prevent the cold and flu.

Tip #1:  Know your body and listen to it.

If you have the sniffles and a sore throat, a moderate workout can do you some good.  However, a fever along with aches and sweating bouts is something entirely different.  If needed, see you doctor to rule out anything more serious; otherwise, take a few days off.

Tip #2:  Take precautions at the gym.

Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs and wear weightlifting gloves.  You want to create a barrier at the gym and wearing the proper clothing can protect you against germs associated with illness.  Use a towel to wipe off equipment after you use it and avoid using the same towel to wipe your face.

Tip #3:  Wash your hands often.

This tip is the most helpful, effective, yet overlooked step that can prevent you from getting sick.  In fact, studies show that hand-washing works better than hand sanitizer to remove those germs associated with illness in vulnerable areas like school, hospitals, and — you got it — gyms.  Wash your hands before your workout and afterwards.

Tip #4:  Exercise during non-peak hours.

As much as you might like early morning or late night workouts, you may be putting yourself at more risk of aggravating your cold symptoms or spreading it to others.  Workout during less busy times and you’ll avoid the crowds and reduce the risk of getting sick.

Tip #5:  Lower your workout intensity.

Studies show that there are benefits to working out when you’re under the weather:  you can increase the amount of oxygenated blood throughout your body.  This allows your body to perform and heal better.  A little jolt is good for you, but be careful not to overdo it.  If you have to run, opt for 20-minute jog versus a 45-minute run.  If you’re strength training, use lighter weights and higher rep ranges (12-15).  Reducing your intensity will still give you great health benefits plus prevent your cold from turning into something else.

[Valerie Merriweather — MHA, ACE, NASM — is Chief Executive Officer of Fitwell Training Solutions, a personal training and wellness company specializing in the health and fitness of busy women.  She lives on Playford Lane in the Forest Knolls community.  Valerie can be reached at]   ■

   © 2013 NFCCA  [Source:]