So, after a wonderful spring break away in sunny Florida, I came down with a cold! (I guess my body wasn't ready for the shock of warm weather and sunshine). I wanted so badly to hit the ground running with a new fitness regimen now that I was back in Alabama but my sickness got the better of me...
It started in my head (I felt like my head was clouded and full of fluff) and I made it through a workout just fine, feeling re energized but not any less sick. The next day my nose started running and my head still felt the same; again, I made it through a workout just fine but i was sluggish throughout the workout and it took me much longer than normal to make it through the full workout. The third day my throat was killing me, my nose was stuffed up and i felt like i had a vice around my forehead. I decided maybe a workout was NOT me best bet.
After a little research I found that I was right in listening to my body and gauging how it reacted to exercise. When all your signs and symptoms are "above the neck" such as runny nose, nasal congestion or minor sore throat, physical activity may actually help you feel better (but lower the intensity or length of your workouts according to how you feel). Once the symptoms move below the neck (chest congestion, hacking coughs with mucus, upset stomach/nausea, fever or widespread muscle aches and fatigue) it is better to replace the treadmill with some rest time. Snuggle on the couch and read a new fitness magazine, plan your workouts for when you are feeling better, look up some new healthy recipes or read a new book!
Above all, just take some time to really listen to your body. Self awareness and mindfulness have become "buzzwords" these days but they are truly the best way to get in tune with your own body! Take a few minutes each day to close your eyes, slow down your breathing and do a quit body scan; find the aches, the pains and even the beginnings of a cold coming on (hopefully not in your case!). If you do start to feel achy and stuffy, grab an orange juice or a Vitamin C supplement and help your immune system kick that cold before it even starts!!!