Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

Exercising During Cold and Flu Season

We are in the midst of cold and flu season. Have you taken the precautionary measures to avoid headaches and runny noses looming in every office building, school classroom and store this season?

We spoke with Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices, who gave his expert advice on how to best protect the immune system this season and whether or not it’s okay to work out when sick.

This is what he shared:

How does exercise support our immune health?

Exercise, along with other healthy habits, can help strengthen our immune system. A healthy immune system protects us from infection and disease, including the viruses that cause colds and flu.

Some research has found that people who exercise regularly are less prone to illness because they have a better immune system response. Plus, exercise can help us manage stress and reduce the release of stress-related hormones. This is important because stress can be detrimental to our immune function. Other studies have found that exercise can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways – thus reducing our risk of respiratory illness – and that exercise can boost our number of infection-fighting white blood cells.

Is it okay to work out when you’re sick? When is it safe to exercise?

Exercise is recommended as long as your illness is mild and feel well enough to work out. For example, most people who have a common cold or mild upper respiratory symptoms, like a stuffed or runny nose, are generally able to work out. You’ll very likely have to lower the intensity and you’ll definitely need to monitor your heart rate and breathing. Certain decongestants and cold medications can increase the heart rate. Although some individuals with asthma and other chronic respiratory health conditions can exercise without any issues, it’s best that they reach out to their doctor to see if they can continue being physically active while they are sick.

Please keep in mind that overexertion can make you feel worse and slow down your recovery.

When are you too sick to work out? When is exercise not recommended?

If you’re experiencing a fever of 101.5 degrees or more, body aches, congestion, gastrointestinal issues, or feeling weakness, please wait a few days before working out. Also, drink plenty of fluids while you’re recovering to avoid dehydration both while you’re sick and when you return to your fitness regimen.

When is it okay to return to your exercise routine?

Typically, it’s okay to return to your exercise routine 48 hours after a fever has broken or diarrhea or vomiting has stopped. Your best gauge is your overall well-being. If you feel good, great. If your body is telling you to take another day off, listen to it!

 

Can you really sweat out a cold?

No. Sweating methods, such as a sauna or steam room, inhaling warm steam and exercise can provide temporary relief by relieving nasal congestion and loosening up mucus, but they will not shorten your recovery time. It normally takes seven to 10 days to fully recover from a common cold. If you choose to incorporate a “sweat out method” as part of your treatment plan, drink plenty of fluids and be on the lookout for possible signs of dehydration. When you sweat, you not only release water; you also release electrolytes.

 

Prevention Tips
  1. Get an annual flu shot. This is your best line of defense.
  2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Our immune system needs a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to function well.
  3. Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has been linked to a weakened immune system.
  4. Wash your hands constantly. A 20-second wash with soap and warm water is the best, but if water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  5. Avoid touching your face. The most common way germs get into the body is via the face.
  6. Manage your stress levels. Chronic stress can increase your risk of illness.
  7. Avoid overtraining and exerting your body. Listen to your body and give it time to recover.
  8. If you exercise in a gym or fitness club, sanitize the equipment before and after your workout to minimize the spread of germs.

Content contributed by Chris McGilmer, MD, a sports and family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente North Hollywood Medical Offices. 


Recommended Reading

LA Fitness NAMI Walk 2018 Recap

LA Fitness NAMI Walk 2018 Recap

On Saturday, September 29th, 2018, LA Fitness participated with NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and attended their walk at Angel Stadium in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). What started off as a small idea turned in to a larger campaign which hoped to bring focus and attention to an often-unspoken topic: mental illness.

The fitness industry does an outstanding job of promoting the benefits of physical activity for a healthier body, but exercise provides many additional benefits for a healthier mind.

Health and wellness can be thought of as the trifecta of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. A balanced life of healthy eating, sleeping, exercise and time spent doing the things you love with those you love can all lead to a happier self – and who doesn’t want to be happy?

On the day of the event, thousands of people showed up from various organizations to show their support for a great cause. The air was filled with an electric sense of positivity and hope that absolutely radiated in smiles and kind words of fellow walkers.

And for animal lovers out there, there was also a pet costume contest that took place before the walk, meaning there was no shortage of cute dogs to pet and ogle at during the event.

Participants held up signs with various sayings such as “Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others!” and “We walk, so people will talk”, promoting NAMI’s campaign slogan #CureStigma.

In honor of MIAW, the LA Fitness Living Healthy Podcast published a special episode which featured Neel Doshi, DO, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Orange County. He helped us better understand the impact exercise can have when added to a treatment plan. If you’re one of the many who deal with anxiety or depression symptoms, you may want to give the episode a listen.

(Listen to it, here!)

Whatever you may be going through may feel overwhelming, but with the proper support group, your journey can feel a lot less lonely.

Try out an LA Fitness today.

It’s been such a positive experience to hear from many different people about their relatable struggles with mental illness. It really means a lot to talk about it and remove some of the stigma.

Penny S.

I really enjoyed sharing the walk with my wife and son. It was a great event and the turn out proved that we are chipping away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

Andrew G.

To see so many people come out to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness was both touching and inspiring. I was so proud to rally behind such a strong force and share such empowerment with my son.

Elaine G.


Recommended Reading

It’s Time We Talk About Mental Health – Podcast Ep. 11

It’s Time We Talk About Mental Health – Podcast Ep. 11


Welcome to a very special edition of Living Healthy.

On this episode, we speak with Dr. Neel Doshi, DO, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente Orange County, about the importance of mental health and how exercise can act as an additional form of treatment for combating mental illness. 

Dr. Doshi is double board certified in Adult Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Doshi’s comprehensive treatment approach focuses on an individual’s total health: mind, body, and spirit. He believes that by identifying and addressing underlying causes, implementing healthy lifestyle changes, psychotherapy, and taking medication when necessary, he can determine the best treatment plan and work with his patients to restore their emotional and mental well-being.

If you’d like to share your personal story with us, leave it in the comments section below and use the hashtag #curestigma or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com.

 

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – It’s Time We Talk About Mental Health – Podcast Ep. 11

Intro 

Begins at 0:01  

Psychiatrist Dr. Neel Doshi joins the show 

Begins at 0:43 

Does Everyone Experience Mental Illness? 

1:10 

Learn More – NAMI.org 

1:54 

The Different Categories – AMI vs. SMI 

2:22 

What Separates a Mental Illness from Just Having a Bad Day? 

3:00 

The Stigma with Mental Health  

4:23 

What Are Some Ways You Can Reach Out and Help Others? 

5:42 

NAMI Cure Stigma Campaign 

6:47 

Does Mental Illness Come from Genetics? 

8:23 

The Social Feedback Loop 

9:43 

The Chemical Side of Things 

12:04 

How Can the Body Help the Mind – Exercise and Mental Illness 

13:53 

Neuroplasticity 

14:45 

The Future of Depression and Anxiety 

15:11 

Pushing Through to Get Better 

16:05 

Producer Matt Joins the Show 

17:03 

Have Patients Had Success with Exercise?  

22:55 

The Chemical Impact of Exercise – The Legal Drug 

23:59 

Actionable Advice 

26:28 

Outro 

28:38

 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

Sleep and Weight: What’s the Connection?

Sleep and Weight: What’s the Connection?

Nighttime approaches, but the Sandman does not. You lay in bed, eyes focused on the ceiling, or perhaps your phone. You set the phone down. Close your eyes. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four… no luck.

You’ve been feeling drained, stressed, and unhealthy – maybe your poor sleep habits are to blame.

We reached out to Babak Saedi, MD, and Director of Sleep Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles, to help us better understand the connection between sleep and weight.

This is what he shared:

Sleep plays a critical role for our physical and emotional health. Without it, we lack the energy necessary to get through the day. Sleep deprivation impacts our immune system, making us more susceptible to illness; it affects our mood and stress levels; it also increases our risk for heart disease. Plus, not getting enough sleep is linked with a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes, obesity, and depression. While almost everyone feels sleepy in the daytime now and then, sleep debt can affect our concentration and reaction time, becoming the cause of serious problems like car crashes and work-related accidents. Poor sleep is also linked to increased pain perception and a degraded quality of life.

How much sleep is needed for optimal health?

Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep and kids – depending on their age – need between eight to eleven hours.

How does sleep affect our weight?

In order for us to achieve any health or fitness goal, we must make sleep a priority. Whether we want to maintain or lose weight, gain muscle mass, perform better or simply feel better, getting enough high-quality sleep is key to reaching our weight and fitness goals.

If you’re tired, you have less energy. Even if you can get yourself to workout, the intensity of that workout isn’t the same as when you’re well rested, and as a result, you burn less calories.

You’re more likely to eat more and consume extra calories from high fat and high sugar foods to cover the energy cost of staying awake.

Lack of sleep impacts our hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin) hormones. It also causes a spike in our cortisol levels, signaling our body to conserve energy to fuel our waking hours.

It affects our body’s ability to properly respond to insulin signals. Excess insulin increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy.

Lack of sleep slows the production of growth hormone, which can make it more difficult for your body to build muscle mass.

11 Tips for Better Sleep


1. Take a hot shower 1-2 hours before bedtime.

2. Make your sleeping environment comfortable. The temperature, along with light and noise should be controlled to make the bedroom conducive to sleeping. It’s also important to choose a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillow.

3. Go to bed only when sleepy. Once in bed, if you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, leave the bedroom for another room. After getting up, it’s important to remain calm, which means avoiding bright-lights or engaging in activities that will lead to more alertness (including chores or games on the computer, phone or tablet). Return to bed once you feel sleepy. Until then, stay out of the bedroom.

4. Limit bedroom activities to only sleeping and intimacy. Avoid watching television, using electronics, playing games or studying while in bed.  Also, avoid clock watching. All of these activities increase alertness and make it difficult to fall asleep.

5. Avoid eating or drinking right before going to bed. Eating a late dinner or snacking before going to bed can activate the digestive system and keep you awake. Eating before bedtime can also worsen acid reflux or heartburn symptoms.  Avoid drinking too much before bedtime because it can cause the need to urinate frequently throughout the night.

6. Avoid smoking, caffeinated beverages, alcohol and other stimulants. The effects of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can last several hours after use, which cuts into sleep time. Caffeine can cause difficulty falling asleep and frequent awakenings, while alcohol is known to create a non-restful night’s sleep and frequent urination.

7. Avoid daytime naps. It is important to establish and maintain a regular sleep and wake-up pattern. Napping during the day, especially after 2 p.m., makes it difficult to fall asleep at bedtime. If one must take a nap during the day, it should be early, around midday, and should only last about 20 minutes.

8. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can improve sleep quality and duration. However, avoid exercising close to bedtime because it can have a stimulating effect on the body. Try to finish exercising at least three hours before it’s time to sleep.

9. Wake up the same time each day. Waking up the same time every day regardless of how much sleep you’ve had helps to regulate your internal clock (circadian rhythm) and predict your bedtime. Try to keep the same sleep and wake-up time on work/school and non-working/school days, especially if you are a shift-worker.

10. Set aside time to plan. If you find that you lay in bed thinking about tomorrow, consider setting aside a time at night to review the day and make plans for the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things while trying to fall asleep. It may also be helpful to make a to-do list.

11. Reduce Stress. Aim for two hours of relaxation time before bedtime. There are a number of relaxation therapies and stress reduction methods to relax the mind and body before going to bed. You may want to take a warm bath, do some light reading, listen to white noise or relaxing audio tapes, do some deep breathing exercises or practice meditation.

Responses and tips above provided by Babak Saedi, MD, and Director of Sleep Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles. Questions provided by Mayra Suarez, Senior Media Relations Representative at Kaiser Permanente Southern California.


Recommended Reading

What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9

What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9


Welcome to the ninth episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with Master Trainer Geoff Fox and get his advice on persevering through difficult times. 

Do you have an LA Fitness member in mind that you would like to recommend for a Member Spotlight episode of our podcast? Share them with us in the comments below!

Let us know how we’re doing by tweeting us @LAFitness or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com.

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9

Introduction 

0:01 

Show Begins 

0:20 

Master Trainer, Geoff Fox Joins the Show 

Begins at 1:38 

Why Do We Quit? 

Begins at 1:51 

Biggest Culprit Leading People to Quit 

Begins at 2:39 

Plateaus  

Begins at 3:26 

Learning to Move Forward 

Begins at 6:54 

Working Out with Others 

Begins at 11:07 

Changing Your Thinking  

Begins at 13:05 

Embrace the Struggle  

Begins at 16:38 

Ask a Trainer Throwback Break 

Begins at 19:39 

Actionable Advice  

Begins at 21:28 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

SUBSCRIBE TO

LIVING HEALTHY

Be the first to know about exclusive

content, deals and promotions

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest