Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Training While Sick

It's one of the biggest questions ever faced by any athlete.

How much can, or should, you exercise while you're sick? It's well-known that people who do exercise regularly tend not to get as sick as often as those who don't.

But what about when you're already sick? What can or should you do when you have that full-blown cold or strep throat?

I've been dealing with that question a lot lately. I've had several health issues keep me from training as hard as I would have liked to this summer. My old knee pain acted up on me a few weeks ago, then it was some stomach issues, then a cold that morphed into strep throat.

I find that doing a workout when you're just starting to feel sick can help prevent the onset of disease. Gichin Funakoshi claimed that by running through some kata, he could sweat out a cold before it took hold of him.

In my experience, sometimes a light workout late in the progression of an illness can be what's needed to fight off the last of the bug. But the secret, whether trying to head off an illness or purging yourself of what's left, is moderation. Pushing yourself too hard can cause a relapse.

So yesterday, I did my first workout in a couple of weeks. I kept it light, working on some chain punches or straight blasts, a couple runs each of the Siu Lam Tao and the Mook Yan Johng Kuen, with a little bit of the ab roller between runs.

Altogether, I spent a grand total of 20 minutes. Not a whole lot of time. Probably equal to the amount of time children get for recess these days. But it did make me feel better to get off my ass and do something.

And my lungs and sinuses do feel a little bit clearer today for yesterday's workout.

I'll probably keep it short again today. Maybe 20 to 25 minutes, tops. Maybe I can blow out the last of this creepy crud.

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