Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Running When You're Sick
David Nieman, PhD., head of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University says runners and athletes should use the "neck rule". If you have symptoms below the neck, like a chest cold, bronchial infection, or body aches, take time off. If you have symptoms like a runny nose, stuffiness, or sneezing, continue with your routine.
Tom Weidner, PhD. director of athletic training research at Ball State University supports this idea. In a study, Weidner took two groups of 30 runners each and inoculated them with the common cold. One group ran 30 to 40 minutes every day for a week. The other group did not run. Weidner says that "The two groups didn't differ in length or severity of their colds." In a different study, he found that the common cold did not compromise running performance. Weidner concluded that running with a head cold is beneficial for maintaining fitness and mental health as long as you do not push beyond normal limits.
But, you must run a fine line. Sometimes colds will turn into something more serious, like bronchitis or a sinus infection. Even without a fever, which many use as a guide for activity, simple illness can develop into pneumonia when aggravated by physical activity. Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D. recommends the "72 hour rule. No running for three days."
Even when you're not sick, the dry winter air causes nasal irritation, and for some, can create cold or allergy-like symptoms. Those who suffer from sinusitis may benefit from pool running, which provides much needed moisture in winter months.
Take your temperature. If it's higher than 99 degrees, forget your run. Some believe you can sweat out a fever by running. "That's wrong. Running won't help your immune system fight the fever," says Nieman. Nieman saw this first-hand when a running buddy of his ran a marathon with a 101 degree fever. Not long after, the runner developed symptoms similar to that of chronic fatigue syndrome. "Every day he'd wake up feeling creaky and arthritic. When he tried to run, he'd stumble and fall," says Nieman. He was eventually diagnosed with a postviral syndrome, a condition that was exacerbated by running.
While this is a rare syndrome, you take a risk when running with a fever. Think about it: when you run, your temperature rises with exertion. If you already have a fever, your temperature will rise even higher and your heart will be put under greater strain to keep your temperature from rocketing.
If you are a runner and have a foot problem, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Medicine Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington
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