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It is better to stay at home once more: sport can be fatal to infections!
Fever and sport just don't go together. Anyone who is sick should be in bed! We have put together the five most important reasons why exercise harms the body when we are infected, and we also answer the question of when you can start again.
You have overcome your inner bastard, you have finally motivated yourself to exercise regularly - and then you get sick. Should we pull ourselves together now and still do our workload or should we play it safe?
With a harmless runny nose, it is acceptable to continue exercising moderately - provided you feel able to do so. But generally caution is advised. In some cases, you should really cure yourself rather than exercise. "Above all, this includes feverish virus infections," says Professor Dr. Ingo Froböse from the German Sport University Cologne. Viral diseases in particular can spread through sport in the body and, in the worst case, also attack the heart.
If the immune system cannot kill the virus, an immune or inflammatory response sometimes continues to smolder. This can develop into an inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), which can sometimes be life-threatening.
The result of an infection caused by a virus is an increased activity of the immune system, which fights the pathogen, in many cases also a fever. Anyone who does sports with a viral infection like the flu is overexploiting his body: "You have to imagine that in such a situation two stress factors act on the body, so to speak," explains Dr. Axel Preßler, senior physician at the Center for Preventive and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. "Namely the infection itself and the extra effort from sport."
Defense in stress
"Of course, moderate exercise in a healthy state is generally not stressful for the body," continues Preßler. "But here the balance shifts, and the immune system is also stressed, especially when the effort is too high, so that there are simply not enough reserves available for defense against viruses." The same applies to bacterial infections. They also demand body defense. And the same applies here: protect yourself and follow the advice of your doctor!
1. How long do you have to wait before you can start training again?
“You have to take a longer break after illnesses associated with fever. If you only had a mild cold, you can exercise again at the latest when the symptoms have subsided, ”says Froböse. After feverish infections, for example, you should pause for at least a week - if in doubt, consult your doctor. In addition, you should not immediately demand your maximum performance again. The feeling of tiredness after a flu often lasts longer. It is quite natural. So listen to your body and slowly increase yourself until you return to your usual level after a few days of training.
2. Are there colds in which exercise is not dangerous?
"Ultimately, this is always an individual decision and essentially depends on the subjective condition and objectively on the presence of general symptoms, that is, everything that is not limited to a 'runny nose'", describes Preßler. Studies have shown that a slight cold (without side effects such as a sore throat, cough or fever) is not a reason to take a break from exercising. Test subjects showed no worsened symptoms even after exercising. But here too, if you just don't feel good, you'd better not do any sport. Sometimes a walk in the fresh air is enough to keep you moving.
3. Are there sports that are more suitable than others for mild colds?
Froböse advises: “If you are fever-free, outdoor sports such as walking or Nordic walking are recommended. Maximum force is taboo because it dampens the immune system. You should also pay attention to warm - but not too warm - clothes. ” The weather is also crucial. Avoid physical stress at extreme temperatures - whether very cold or very hot. Your body's reactions to such extreme conditions complicate the work of your immune system.
4. Can you “sweat out” diseases?
That depends on the intensity of the training. If the physical exertion is not too great, do your defenses even a favor with a little exercise. “Exercise increases both the quantity of police officers in your immune system and the quality of your work,” says Froböse. But only to a certain extent: If the load is too high, sweating is counterproductive. Sweating in case of fever is generally beneficial - but please warmly packed in bed! Follow your doctor's recommendations and make sure you drink enough fluids!
5. What is the right workload?
Be sure to listen to your body! In most cases, you will feel when you should not do sports if your health is poor. Important: If you have a fever, you must not be exposed to any sport or other stress. If the symptoms are very mild and you do not want to do without your training, it is advisable to at least reduce the workload significantly. And as soon as you are completely healthy again: Put on your sneakers! (fs)