Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Do You Yoga When You're Sick?

I'm at the tail end of a bad cold, and it's put a damper on my workout schedule.  There seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there about whether or not you should exercise when you're sick.  The consensus is that, if you have a fever, you should not work out.  But what if you're just congested and stuff?  And do the same rules apply to yoga as to cardio and weight training?

Because yoga isn't the same.  I mean, jogging doesn't usually involve being upside down.  And breathing is such a key element of yoga.  So if you can't breathe...?

The first day, when I barely had a throat tickle, I went to yoga, and it was fine.  I mean, that was probably the point when I was contagious, so it might not have been fine for everyone else in the room.  But I felt okay.

Then a couple days later I felt so bad that leaving the house just wasn't even an option.  So I skipped yoga that day.  Then a couple days after that, I was starting to feel a bit better, but still not great, and I debated on what to do.  So I Googled.  Which is, ideally, the best way to find out your health information.  Not.

But seriously, what I found in general was this:

You shouldn't do any of the inverted poses if you're congested.  This means any pose where your head is below your heart.  Like downward dog, forward fold, or headstands (as if I do headstands, but whatever).  I could see where this might make one feel worse, but I actually found several sites cautioning that it could make you sicker by forcing gunk into places it doesn't belong.

Some gentle, upright poses can be helpful.  Things like chest expansions and side bends.  But in general, you shouldn't do any strenuous poses.

And the advice that finally made my decision for me was this simple question:  Do you want to be in a closed up yoga studio with someone who is hacking, sneezing, and sniffling?

Ummm...no.  And I realized I've actually had this very thought before while I was relaxing into a corpse pose and listening to the person next to me cough up a lung.  "Really?!  You felt the need to come share all that with us?"

So I stayed home.

What about you?  Do you work out when you're sick?

1 comment:

Karen Peterson said...

I take sickness as my body's way of giving me permission to stay home and be lazy.