I have been sick for over a week now. Caught it from my son. Despite the greens, vitamins and extra water, I wasn't able to avoid catching a bad sinus infection. But perhaps it was helpful in my recovery as well as preventing the infection from turning into bronchitis, which is what usually happens.
Yesterday I had yet another headache from the stuffy sinuses, and I went through a lot of Kleenex. Today was a little better. I didn't really feel like eating anything, and the idea of lifting a weight or taking one step on to my elliptical cross trainer was the furthest thing from my mind. I have heard of people who were upset at being too sick to exercise. Now that's crazy!
However, I do understand that regular exercise helps prevent the flu. According to WebMD, when "...moderate exercise is repeated on a near daily basis, there is a cumulative immune-enhancing effect, which leads to a sustained response by the immune system to illness. When you exercise, your white blood cells - the blood cells that fight infections in the body - travel through your body more quickly, fighting bacteria and viruses (such as flu) more efficiently. To maintain good health, experts recommend at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity..."
Alternately, "...extremely vigorous forms of exercise, including working out for hours at the gym and running marathons, can have a negative effect on your immune system. Studies show that extreme workouts can decrease the number of white blood cells flowing throughout your body while increasing the level of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, in the bloodstream. These emergency hormones help you cope with the physical stress but can also increase your likelihood of illness."
But what should we do when we're sick? Take it easy. Being sick is stressful on the body, so some downtime will allow the body to rest and let the immune system do its job without the energy drain from exercise. Definitely avoid exercise when a fever is present. It would only increase the chances of dehydration and delay recovery. Wait a few days after flu symptoms have gone before contemplating physical exertion.
Instead of laying around in bed, I did have enough energy to clean the living room and dining room. I didn't overdo it, I promise. And my sweet older son actually did the dishes without my having to ask him, and I was able to finish washing up the counters and stove. The boys made their own dinner. Thank God for Trader Joe's burritos!
I miss having a housekeeper. When I lived overseas I had a very good household staff, and when I got sick, I was well cared for. When I could concentrate on just getting well, I'd usually recover in a few days. But when I'm running kids to after-school activities, running errands for my parents, doing the laundry, writing a paper for my Myth and Literature class and looking for a job in this economy, its taking much longer to recover!
One more day of "taking it easy at home" and I'm going to get really edgy and cranky. Perhaps tomorrow I'll blow everybody off and nap.