Christmas is a tough time to keep fit. Not only are there dozens of temptations laid out on the dinner table, but it’s also flu season. Welcome to the most wonderful time of the year, folks! As the guilt sets in, the urge to stick to your routine will get stronger and stronger, and there’s only one way to ease a guilty conscience – a work out.

The problem is that you are run down, tired, and suffering from the flu. So, should you still exercise? You can sweat the bacteria or virus right out of your system, can’t you? Working out when you’re not one-hundred-percent is a bad move, and these are the reasons why.

It’s Not Therapy

Exercise is excellent for preventing illnesses. Working out for up to forty-five minutes can almost half the risk of respiratory infections, conditions that are common in winter. However, once the foreign agent is in your system, you can’t do anything about your chances of fighting it off. The body doesn’t react well to the flu, causing the symptoms to intensify. Therefore, exercising when you’re ill is only likely to worsen the problem and leave you feeling sick for longer. Sometimes, it’s vital to take a rest and let your body do the work.

It Masks The Root Cause

If you’re thinking, “I work out all the time, so why did I catch a bug when it should have boosted my immune system?” it’s an excellent observation. Of course, there is a straightforward answer. In this case, it boils down to the root cause of your condition, which is typically stress. High cortisol levels lead the body to break down, making the white blood cells less effective at fighting bacteria and viruses. By working out, you’re masking the problem and passing it off as a common cold or the flu. It’s the fact that your routine is too strenuous and you need a break from everything, including exercise.

You Could Self-Diagnose

To make you feel less crappy and more able to pump iron, you head to the pharmacy and buy painkillers and antibiotics. You think they’ll do the trick, but the fact that stress is a leading cause of the problem, and that your body requires rest to recover means you’re popping pills for no reason. An opioid detox center has admitted people for less than addiction to pharmaceuticals. Indeed, it’s one of the main causes of addiction in the US today. Don’t self-diagnose and prescribe – if you’re desperate to get back to the gym, you should ask a doctor for advice.

The Impact Might Be Long Lasting

The idea that the aches, pains and fatigue will go away when you recover isn’t backed up by research. In Australia, studies found evidence that exercising with the flu can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome that doesn’t go away for years. So, although it seems like a short-term measure, working out when you’re sick could impact your health in the long-term.

When you’re body tells you to lay back and relax, guys and girls, you should listen.

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