When Exercising Isn't The Right Choice
By Lenny & Larry's. Posted on July 27, 2018.
Have you ever considered when it’s a good time to avoid exercise? The list of reasons why you should exercise is virtually endless, but interestingly, there are also some instances when training isn't the best choice.
While this list is relatively short, you should still know what they are so that when presented with these situations, you can make the right decision to take a break.
Here are some circumstances when exercise isn’t a great idea:
When You’re Really Sick
We've all been there before. You get a sore throat and have a stuffed up nose but you still want to exercise. You've always heard you should avoid exercise when you're sick, but you still feel okay enough to train. So what's the right choice?
Really, it depends on the severity of your sickness. If you've contracted the common cold, you should avoid going to the gym and infecting everyone else. However, it's not a bad idea to do some moderate exercise in isolation. In fact, multiple studies have shown that low-intensity exercise can improve your immune response and speed up recovery.
On the other hand, if you have a high fever and are throwing up, you should consider avoiding exercise altogether for at least a few days. Recent research suggests there is a correlation between exercise intensity and your immune function. Basically, as your exercise intensity increases, your body’s immune response diminishes. So if you’re really sick and continue to exercise, your sickness could get worse.
When You Injure Yourself Badly
Like with sickness, injuries have degrees of severity. Most people who exercise or train on a regular basis get used to minor injuries such as cuts, bruises, or scrapes. In some sports, athletes are even prideful when they train with an injury.
Experienced athletes know that you can avoid prolonged breaks by training around their injuries. For example, if you injure your shoulder, you can find exercises or drills to work out your legs instead.
While this is a great work around, it also has its limits. An example is if you end up hurting your back or neck. In this case, even attempting to work around the injury could significantly hamper your ability to recover and move properly. Not to mention, you could end up hurting yourself much more if you’re unable to move safely and correctly.
If you're able, it's smart to exercise around injuries. However, if you have a severe injury that could be worsened through regular exercise, take a few days off and rehab the damage as best you can before returning. Remember that taking a few days off or even a week for full recovery is much better than needing months to recover from a more severe injury.
When You’re Sleep Deprived
You’ve probably heard that sleep is essential for health and exercise recovery. But what if we told you that being sleep deprived not only reduces your performance and recovery but can also diminish your mental capacity and mood when combined with exercise?
Unsurprisingly, that's precisely what happens. In one recent study, researchers deprived subjects of sleep. One group completed exercise intermittently during sleep deprivation while the other did not exercise.
When subjects were both sleep deprived and exercised, these individuals displayed poor performance, slowed reaction times and more significant levels of fatigue and depression than sleep deprivation alone. Mainly, all subjects demonstrated adverse effects of sleep deprivation. But when sleep deprivation was combined with exercise, the side effects were even worse.
While occasionally sleeping less probably won’t hurt your performance drastically, combining severe sleep deprivation and exercise isn’t a great idea. It’s a much better idea to avoid the gym and get some proper rest instead.
When You Have Bigger Priorities
The all or nothing attitude in the fitness industry will likely always prevail. Most Instagram and Facebook fitness models like to give the impression that they are continually exercising and watching their nutrition. The problem with this is that as a regular consumer, you get the impression that fitness should always be your number one priority.
We get it, we really do. Exercise is an integral part of your life, and it's important to you. While there's nothing wrong with that, it's important to remember those around you and the responsibility you have to them.
The problem with this all or nothing attitude is when you place fitness as a priority above all else. As a result, you could ruin relationships and even miss out on important events. It's important to remember that exercise and healthy habits are meant to improve your quality of life, not become your only priority.
The key is to have priorities in general but a balanced perspective overall.
When Exercise Is The Wrong Choice
Exercise is usually a universal suggestion. The problem is, there are a few situations where exercise probably isn't a great idea. For instance, if you're slightly sick, there's no harm in a little exercise. In fact, it might help. But if you're really sick with the flu, exercise might make your condition worse.
Sleep deprivation and severe injury are also excellent examples of when not to exercise. Continuing to train under these circumstances could severely hamper your recovery and even increase your likelihood of further damage.
Lastly, remember that while exercise should be a priority, it's meant to influence your life positively. Don't sacrifice events and time with your loved ones just to exercise.