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Health - Top Stories

Want to know whether you’re too ill to work out? Try the “neck rule”

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 2018-01-12 Alice Howarth

a man wearing sunglasses © Provided by Evening Standard Limited When you wake up feeling unwell it can be difficult to decide whether exercising will make you feel better or set you back. 

Some people claim that taking light exercise rather than staying cooped up inside can help symptoms. Research has indeed shown that working out with a light cold can help to open the nasal passages and reduce congestion but there are definitely circumstances where you should stay in bed even if you technically feel alright.

According to Mayo Clinic, you should “let your body be your guide”. 

Dr. Edward Laskowski says that low-impact exercise is generally okay if all your symptoms are “above the neck” - a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat.

However, he warns not to exercise if your symptoms fall below the neck such as chest congestion, a hacking cough or upset stomach or you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

The problem is that if you carry on with your normal routine you'll not only exhaust yourself further but you'll dehydrate yourself too. Even if you don't have symptoms that lead to obvious water loss - a running nose, sweating, sickness or diarrohea - even a slight raise in temperature leads your body to use up more of its fluids.

So, next time you’re feeling a little weak but like you should exert yourself, consult your body first unless you want to go two steps backwards.

Related: 50 Amazing Benefits of Walking Daily (provided by The Active Times)

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