Battling Illness: To Run or Not to Run?
By Marc Carpio
Most runners I know are driven, determined, dedicated and persistent, which is what keeps them performing at very high levels! We love runners at Spooner Physical Therapy as many of us are runners ourselves. Skipping a run or workout seems out of the question; even though we are blessed with nice weather here in Arizona, it is still the time of year where illnesses are very common. Therefore, the million dollar question becomes: “Am I healthy enough to run?”
At Spooner Physical Therapy, we understand that all systems of the body must be functioning at optimal levels in order to perform as such. (Durst, Jeana) When in doubt as to whether you are healthy enough to run or not, consider using the “neck rule.” Symptoms below the neck (e.g. chest cold, bronchial infections, body aches) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (e.g. runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing their workouts.
Be extra cautious when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions involving the lower respiratory tract and lungs. Depending on the conditions and accessibility, consider running in a pool. Water adds moisture to nasal passages, especially in winter weather.
If you are still on the fence about whether you are healthy enough to run, take your temperature. If your temperature is above 99 degrees, skip your run. Most runners are under the assumption you can “sweat it out,” when in reality, running does not help your immune system fight a fever. (Laskowski, Dr. Edward, Mayo Clinic).
While symptoms may not be severe enough to stay home from work or keep us in bed, running can still cause more harm than good. Exercise can provide a mental and physical boost, but it’s important not to compromise the body’s integrity and health. Know your limits, and consider the phrase, “when in doubt, wait it out!”