Tag Archives: Exercise

I'm Sick…Should I Skip My Workout?

One of most frustrating things about getting sick is the interruption in your exercise routine. If fitness was part of your New Year’s resolution, you have established a regular routine and habit of movement. We notice the weather is starting to turn as cherry blossoms bloom and temperatures begin to raise, which only increases our desire to take our workout out of the gym.
And then —

Your child, your co-worker, that random stranger gifts you the sniffles.

Should you can your workout if you are sick? Well, It depends on your overall symptoms.

yellow lightLight Coughing and/or sneezing: Give it a try. If your energy is fine and you can breathe, you can exercise. You may want to have a lighter workout, though. If your coughing is deep within the chest and more of a consistent “hacking” nature then stay at home.

Body Aches and/or Deep Fatigue: Skip it. If you are approaching your workout sore and red lightexhausted, it isn’t going to get better. Your form will be off and you will not only increase your risk of injury, but may prolong your illness.

red lightFever and/or chills: Skip it. Stay at home, have some soup, rest!!! This holds true even if green light symptoms are also present.

green lightRunny Nose and/or Congestion: While this can be quite an annoyance, it doesn’t have to stop you from exercising if you feel up to it.

red lightNausea, upset stomach: Lay down, drink some ginger tea and call it a day. The jostling nature of physical activity is not likely to help you help you out!

green lightSore Throat: Go for it! If no fever is present, the increased body temperature of exercising may eradicate whatever nasty bug is settling in your throat.

As a general rule of thumb – if symptoms are present above the neck, feel free to exercise. If they are manifesting below the neck, its best to stay home. If you decide to work out, plan on exercising half your usual time, going
half-speed on the treadmill or stationary bike, and backing off on the
weights until you regain your health. If you’ve been out sick and are feeling better, keep it light and easy until your energy and stamina return fully.

Whenever you are ill make sure your immune system is supported with LOTS OF WATER. If your throat is tender, you may find hot beverages particularly comforting. Take a thermos to the gym with warm water and lemon juice. Also, remember to take those extra precautions to prevent your illness from spreading – wipe down handles and equipment, wash your hands often, and cough into your elbow or armpit to prevent germs from spreading.

Staying Cool and on Track during the Dog Days of Summer

Here in San Diego, the heat just got kicked up a notch.

What I mean is, we went from baking to broiling.

Thermometer wise — it’s only in the high 80’s and 90’s. But here in the desert, in an area with no trees, in a city constructed of cement, no amount of ocean breeze is cool enough.

Being predominantly Pitta dosha (Check out your Ayurvedic body type here) the heat has aggravated my already fiery nature. I find myself cranky, listless, tired, very easy to overheat, and have been having difficulty completing my morning runs, even if I am up before the sun is.

So I’ve gotten a little creative, had to reach out a bit further and stretch a bit more to keep my body in balance so I can do what I love to do.

Here are some tips I have used (and one – at the bottom – I am trying this afternoon) to stay cool in the hottest days of summer. Give ’em a try and let me know if they make a difference. Also — please share your personal favorites!

  • Eat cooling foods: cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, berries, lettuces all come into season during the hottest days for a reason! These juicy, cooling vegetables can help keep us chilled and smiling even on the hottest of days. There is a reason they say, “as cool as a cucumber”! Pair these treats with cooling herbs such as mint, dill, cardamom and avoid heating, stimulating foods such as coffee, cinnamon, and red meats.
  • Carry ice on you! I put my water bladder in the freezer with about 1 cup of water and let it freeze before using. This gives me a long-lasting ice block to carry with me and keeps the water that I place inside very cool and refreshing.
  • Sleep with the fans on and an ice pack at your belly. I’ve taken to sleeping with a ice pack at night on the hottest days so I can sleep through the night. This gives me enough energy and motivation in the morning to get my run in before the sun comes up and it gets too hot.
  • Mix it up! Hit the gym and try the group exercise classes or lift some weights instead of being outside. If the season is short and you want to make the most of it, take the bike out for your cardiovascular activity instead of running or walking. The self-generated breeze can prevent overheating.
  • Keep the Coolness Close to You. I missed my morning run and it is already in the 90’s. So I am going to slather on the sunscreen, ice my water bladder and while I am at it, I’m going to freeze my sports bra. We’ll see how this one goes! Experiment results are going to be posted in the comments section.

Keep cool out there!

Boost Your Winter Workout for Extra Weight Loss

If you have the winter workout blahs or have hit a weight loss plateau, there are some easy, effortless ways to boost your fat loss and calorie burn WITHOUT spending more time in the gym.


1) Add in some plyometics:
Plyometrics is a fun, easy way to get your heart pumping. These moves (jumping, skipping, leaping) bring out the kid in us, boost happy brain chemicals, and can double your calorie burn in a single workout. Aside from the direct increase in calorie-burn from added intensity, they foster use of different muscle fibers and “shock” the body into using more energy to create stronger muscles overall. This can allow you to exercise at a greater intensity and for longer periods of time much quicker. Caution to those with knee problems — utilize plyometrics only underthe supervision of a trained professional.
Some ideas:

During your daily walk, add 30 high-knee marching movements every 15 minutes. If running, skip for 30 seconds each mile or two.

Turn and move into a side squat slowly – 5-10 on each side – followed by 10 squat jumps (slight squat down, then use your arms to propel you as you jump forward) mid-workout.

Repeat as desired for even greater results.


2.) Add hills on your route: “Hills give you strength”, my running coach used to say. He is absolutely right! Driving your body uphill against gravity is a great way to boost your calorie-burn and sculpt your rear. It can be an easy way to add speed to your overall pace by building greater strength and resiliency and power to your legs. Add hills to 10-20% of your workout outside or bump the treadmill incline up 2% for 5-10 minutes of your workout. Continue to up the incline 1% per week to keep your body guessing.

3.) Add in some intervals: Interval training is simply doing short bursts of higher intensity in your workout. Fartleks are a great way to do this if you are a runner (race you to the stop sign!) ; if you walk as your primary form of cardiovascular exercise, you can toss ten 1-minute speed-walking sessions into a 30 minute brisk walk to double your calorie burn. This is also a fantastic way to break into jogging or running from walking. Jeff Galloway revolutionized injury-free running by making this method of walk-running popular.

These are just three, easy and funw ays to add variety and results to your existing fitness routine. If you have any existing or chronic injury, you will want to speak with a knowledgable fitness professional about the best way to boost your workouts for maximum results. As with any new endeavor, add the change in slowly (for one or two workouts a week) building up slowly to allow the body to adapt and prevent injuries.


Have any readers benefited from these methods? I know hill training was key to my Boston marathon qualifying time last May. How have some of these methods benefited you?