Cracking the Code
Seriously jealous of my cat right now. Wishing I could climb under my comforter and sleep all day, but that’s not going to happen. Skipping the daily workout, though, that’s still on the table. With a slightly sore throat, and mild headache, exercise might give me a much-needed energy boost. On the other hand, it could increase exhaustion and lead to getting full-blown sick. So, how do I decide whether to push through or take the day off?
My solution is to start slowly, with low intensity exercise such as walking or biking. Heart rate and breathing are slightly elevated, but not to the point of sweating.
After 20 minutes, If I feel more tired than when I started, the workout is over. On the other hand, a second wind means moving on to 20 minutes of easy-going strength training, such as lifting relatively light weights, before calling it a day.
The point is to get blood pumping and facilitate flushing of the lymph system. As the lymphatic vessels remove waste and toxins from the body, a build-up can increase inflammation and reduce immune response. This system also maintains fluid balance in tissues and organs and is responsible for the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients. Inactivity can significantly restrict lymph flow. So, whenever possible, even a little bit of movement is important.
Years of trial and error, have proven that my body gives very clear signals. The journey is about gathering data, and allowing time for mind and body to communicate, which eliminates the guessing game. If the answer is to go for the workout, I can always “cat” later.
Tanya Thompson is a certified personal trainer who resides in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in functional strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Photo credit: Colleen Cahill