Research has shown that it depends on the type of cold you have as to whether you should exercise or not. If your symptoms are no more than having a runny nose and sneezing, then it is probably O.K. to exercise in moderation.
In one study 24 men and 21 women, ages 18 to 29 with varying levels of fitness, were deliberately infected with the rhinovirus, the common strain responsible for about 1/3 of all colds. All caught head colds and two days later when symptoms were at their worst, they were evaluated while running on treadmills at varying intensities. The results showed no impaired lung function or ability to exercise even though the participants reported feeling tired.
Does exercising speed recovery from having a cold?
To answer this questions, we have to once again to turn to research. In one study on cold symptoms and duration, 34 young men and women infected with the rhinovirus were split into two groups. One group exercised on treadmills every other day for 40 minutes at 70% of their maximum heart rates; the other half rested. At the end of the study, researchers did not find any appreciable difference in symptoms nor was there any difference in how long symptoms lasted.
With winter coming on, many people are afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) commonly called the “winter blues”. Thought to be caused by a decrease in the hours of sunlight, typical symptoms of this mood disorder include a lack of energy, sleeping more, overeating, depression and a general overall lethargic feeling. If you are one that suffers from SAD, you have to take control of it or it will take control of you. Otherwise all the hard work you put into looking and feeling good across the other three seasons will be for naught with a gain in weight as a result. Exercising works at beating the winter blues for these reasons…
Increased blood flow
When exercising, your heart rate increases thus pumping more blood throughout your circulatory system. More blood over a given time means more oxygen going into the cells and more wastes coming out.
Any exercise increases the rate at which your body burns calories, but cardio training tends to burn more than strength training. Because people afflicted with SAD tend to crave carbohydrates more in the winter, it is important to do exercises that give you the most calories burn per minute of exercise. However be sure to include at least a couple days per week (but not in a row) of strength training for toning and definition.
Increased oxygen to the brain
Exercising not only increases blood flow to your muscles, but also to the brain. As a result of the additional oxygen, brain function increases making you more alert and cognitive.
One goal many of us have after the festive holidays is to lose weight. However, some of us approach weight loss the wrong way and either don’t lose or don’t lose the amount we want. Use these 5 tips to ensure you are successful:
Eat the right foods
During the festive holidays, different foods than what you normally stock were in your house. Hopefully those foods are gone and you have restocked with your normal fare. Most holiday foods are high in calories, saturated fat and sugar – all which can sabotage your weight loss attempts if kept in the house. Restock your pantry and frig with fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean meats and fatty fish (like mackerel, halibut, salmon and tuna).
Don’t skip breakfast
One common mistake people make trying to lose weight make is skipping breakfast thinking that by not consuming those calories, it will help with their weight loss. Wrong! By not eating breakfast in the morning, your body goes into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism – the process that burns calories, so you end up burning fewer calories than if you had eaten breakfast. Your Mom was right – breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
When the weather turns cold and blustery, it is hard to force yourself to go to the gym, but you don’t have to. You can still get a great workout in the comfort of your home. Here are some cardio, strength training, core exercises and exercise routine suggestions that you can do with simple (if any) equipment.
If you have stairs in your house (or even if you don’t) stepping will get your heart pumping. Go up and down at a rate where it makes carrying on a conversation hard. If you don’t have stairs, you can substitute by using the fireplace ledge or putting a couple of thick hard cover books on the floor and stepping up and down on them while watching television, or buy a stepper from Amazon or your favorite fitness store for less than $25.00 USD.
Another simple cardio exercise is jumping rope. While it doesn’t work well on carpeting, if you have any type of smooth floor, it works great. If you don’t have any smooth floors, substitute jumping jacks for jumping rope.
Strength training can range from something as simple as doing bicep curls with a filled water bottle in each hand to having a small weight bench and a few dumbbells. Weights and a bench don’t take up much room and gives you the ability to do 18 different exercises. If you outgrow dumbbells, you can move up to barbells.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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