Here at work, everyone is sick. Sneezing, coughing, phlegmy, grumpy, sick. I think there are two of us that haven’t called in and missed at least a day in the last week, and I’m washing my hands like a crazy person to try to keep the germs at bay. I waited in line for my flu shot last Wednesday, and I’ve been extra careful to stay hydrated and get my 8 hours of sleep. Last week one of the sicklies predicted I wouldn’t get sick, or at least not this round of it, what with the strong immune system that I have.
It’s a proven fact that people who exercise, eat healthy, and live a healthy lifestyle are less likely to get sick. Not only do they generally have stronger immune systems, but healthy bodies heal and bounce back more quickly from illness and injury. Us healthies probably won’t get as sick as others if we do get the bug, and in my opinion we’re also better at handling the inconvenience and pain of aches, soreness, or snot.
But, that does not mean that I don’t get sick! Oftentimes, it actually just means that I work through it, be it my job or my training. Killer head ache? A quick run will dull it. Congestion? Just getting up and moving will clear it up somewhat. I’m not saying that hill sprints and intervals will help cure your cold or flu, but there is something to be said for some activity, especially if your body is used to it, to help make yourself feel more normal and ward off the spiral of sick (barring a fever, of course). Sweating just makes you feel good, and those endorphins can counteract the blah of sick and get you breathing. Plus, fresh air gets you out of your germ infested bubble and on the road to recovery.
Case in point: Yesterday morning, I had a killer headache. KILLER. The start of a cold, hurts your eyeballs, don’t talk too loud kind of headache (no, alcohol was not involved). And, a sore throat, too. The last thing on earth that I felt like doing was practicing my bilateral breathing at the pool, but I went anyway. As soon as I started swimming I completely forgot that I had started the day under the weather and by the time I was done I felt how I usually do post workout: energized, proud, and ready to conquer my day. By the end of the workday I was headed down the sick spiral again, but after my mile long jaunt home in the fall chill I felt refreshed and clear-headed and ready to conquer my weights session. And today? I’m still not at 100%, but I feel more like myself than I did yesterday so I’ll take it, along with a side of speed work tonight at the track.
I’ve battled the sick this same way since I was a pre-teen being carpooled to practice by my parents, and I generally stay pretty healthy. Keeping to my routine is good for my mind and soul, and as long as symptoms aren’t getting worse I truly notice that exercise is a decongestant and pain reliever for my sickly woes. People chalk it up to type A, but I don’t keep going because I’m afraid of getting off the wheel. I just know that sticking to it and doing whatever I can will make me feel better than doing nothing will. And I’ve already thoroughly proven to myself that pushing yourself through the sniffles isn’t going to be a cause of death.
Do you still maintain your routine when you are sick?