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Exercise Dos and Donts for Staying Healthy

You wake up feeling tired, and get achy and stuffy as the day goes on. Should you make your regular gym time, or go home to your couch? Use the following tips to help you determine when you're well enough to exercise and when you should be in bed.

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  1. Do you have a fever? Are you achy and fatigued? If your body temperature is over 98.6, you may be fighting an infection. When you have a fever, you are supposed to rest, drink liquids and wait for your body's immune system to beat the germs. Exercising with a fever will only make you sicker or keep your sicker longer, and could even kill you. People have died of heat stroke or heart failure when ignoring their bodies' pleas to stop.
  2. Do you have diarrhea? Are you nauseous or even vomiting? Then, what are you thinking? You must be really sick if you're thinking about doing a workout in your condition. With diarrhea and vomiting (as well as fever) come dehydration; get thee to your home, and if you're not better tomorrow, to your doctor.  
  3. Is your throat sore? A sore throat is usually a sign that something infectious is going on. It might be the dreaded strep throat, complete with pain and a course of antibiotics, or maybe you're getting a cold that you will freely share with all in your workout environment should you continue your exercise program. As a public service, as well as a way to keep your immune system stronger while under attack, reach up, up for that can of chicken soup.  
  4. Let's say you're sick. Cold, flu, nasty cough, stomach issues all call for a break in your routine. Take a couple of weeks off, until you're totally well, and then resume training at about half speed for a couple of days before trying to power up. Exercising while you're still recovering should be relatively gentle; take your time.  
  5. You are not Superman, even if you look like him. You can't "power through" if you're sick. It's risky to even try. Now, where are those fuzzy slippers your mom made you last year? Where's your teddy bear and that DVD of Casablanca?  
  6. It's just a cold. If you don't have a fever but are just feeling stuffy and snotty and lousy, cheer up! You can still exercise if you want to. Just try not to touch anything or breathe on anyone, okay?  
  7. Prevention. Exercise can help you keep from getting sick in the first place. But in flu season, try to use the gym when it isn't too crowded with sneezing, snuffling Type-As who will infect you with more than their enthusiasm for a brisk workout.  
  8. Don't forget how to exercise. Sometimes a long bout with injury or flu can get you out of your routine and turn you into a couch potato. Don't let this happen! Call in all your resources, get with a trainer or your best buddy and get back on track once you're healthy.

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