All winter long people have been splendidly sharing their cooties in the office, at school and at the gym. Flu season used to be a fall and winter occurrence but has recently been more aggressive. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May" (www.cdc.gov) So if you thought you were done with it, you are not in the clear yet. As a matter of fact, USA Today recently reported that "a more severe strain [of the flu virus] now accounts for nearly half of all new cases" (www.usatoday.com). Again, we've still got a ways to go before flu season is over so buckle up!
So how can you stay physically active during flu season? The gym can sometimes be a breeding ground for flu and cold viruses. This doesn't mean you have to avoid it. Make sure to wipe off any equipment you use prior to using it and wash your hands often! This is the best way to keep yourself healthy and active at the gym. If you are sick, don't go share your cooties! Give yourself time to recover. Skip the gym, stay home for some rest, relaxation and hydration. Keeping yourself properly hydrated will help with recovery. If there is one thing we all take for granted it's water and the magic it does for our bodies. Adequate hydration helps our bodies fight off illness, recover from muscle soreness and keep normal body functions going on a daily basis among other things.
If the weather is a problem and you aren't able to go to the gym, you can always work out at home. Get creative with your space. The first thing you need to do is make sure it is safe. Just clear the area and make sure there is nothing you can trip over or slip on. Turn on the radio or play your favorite playlist and dance for a while. If you live in a two story house, clear the area of any debris so you can safely walk up and down the stairs. Lay out an exercise mat and do some sit ups, crunches, burpees and push ups. Use your Amazon Prime or Netflix account to find an exercise video. Don't have either of those? Find an exercise channel on YouTube. We don't realize how many options we have at home until we are forced to look for alternatives. Plus, most of these options are totally free!
Lastly, don't let the cold or flu be an excuse to stop exercising. Exercise can also help you fight it and get over it faster. According to WebMD, "when you exercise, your white blood cells - the ones that fight infections - travel through your body faster and do their jobs better" (www.webmd.com). This doesn't mean you should push yourself and workout daily while you are sick. Seek medical attention when you need to and don't push yourself when you are feverish and weak. Workout when appropriate only. Let's not play dumb here, you know the difference between "I'm sick" and "I'm just feeling lazy." So there you have it! Make sure you get an adequate amount of rest, hydration and exercise and you should come out of this flu season just fine.