Scenario 1 (near the leg press):
PHIL: (coughing incessantly all over himself and the equipment)
GINA: “Oh Phil, you don’t sound good. Are you sick?”
PHIL: (after wiping his snot on his sleeve) “Oh, I’m not too bad… looking forward to the weekend.”
GINA: “You sure are a trooper.”
PHIL: “Yeah, I do what I can…”
Scenario 2 (on the treadmills):
PAULA: (sneezing and coughing) “Oh my gosh, Betty, I am so sick. I could barely breathe last night because I was coughing so hard. My lungs are on fire, and my throat is so sore and swollen.”
BETTY: “Weird you say that… I started feeling a little under the weather last night. My head hurts today, and my throat is a little sore too.”
PAULA: “At least we came to the gym to workout though. Nothing is going to stop us from losing those last few pounds. My doctor thinks I have bronchitis, but I’m not worried about it.”
BETTY: “We can be sick together!”
Do these scenarios sound familiar? Are you annoyed with people that come to the gym when they are sick? If you are feeling under the weather and/or if your body is fighting off a virus or infection, you should not go to the gym because it has negative consequences for everyone. First, when you are sick, your body and immune system are in a weakened state. Whether you are trying to put on weight or take it off, you are just tearing your (already weakened) body down even more, potentially setting yourself back a few days—or even weeks—in achieving your goals in the gym. Many people try to push through a workout when in the early stages of an illness, which as a result could potentially be a contributing factor to the duration of the illness.
In addition to delaying your recovery and objectives, you are also potentially exposing others as well. Germs have the potential to spread quickly, and according to Medifix, “…germs were found in every nook and cranny of the gym” including gym equipment, changing rooms and showers, dirty towels, clothing and accessories, hot tubs, swimming pools, and sauna and steam rooms.
Based on studies by experts at Rice University, “Currently, the best way to stay healthy is to listen to your body. Recognizing the early warning signs and adapting the training schedule accordingly can help keep you healthy.” While it can be extremely tough for us fitness enthusiasts to take time out of the gym, sometimes it is the best thing to do for our bodies. In closing, listen to your body and stay out of the gym if you are sick!
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