It is best to avoid exercising when you have an acute illness such as fever or flu as working out can stress the heart and overwhelm it.
There is no doubt exercise helps you maintain good health. However, doctors warn that there are times when you should give exercise a miss – at least for a while. For example, one should be careful about exercising during an acute illness. Acute illnesses are categorised by their quick onset and short timespan. Common examples are fevers and flus.
Fevers are usually viral infections that can increase the risk of developing a condition called myocarditis, where the virus weakens the heart without any signs or symptoms.
When you have a fever, exercise can put stress on the heart, causing it to be overwhelmed by the body’s demands, said Dr Roger Tian, a sports physician at the Singapore Sports Medicine Centre. “This can ultimately lead to heart failure, collapse and even death,” he said.
He recommends the “neck check” when deciding whether to work out. If the symptoms are above the neck only, such as a sore throat and runny nose, then it should be safe to exercise. “If there is anything below the neck, like a body ache or fever, it will not be safe to exercise for it signifies the presence of an infection,” he said.
Fever tends to come with the flu, so if a person has either or both, it is best for him to stay at home and get some rest. It is generally safe for asthmatics to exercise if they have a treatment plan in place, such as having a Ventolin inhaler on hand. However, if a person has had a recent asthma flare-up, working out is not recommended as the flare-up may be caused by a respiratory infection. He should see hisdoctor if the symptoms persist after a couple of days.
For those who plan to exercise to lose weight, be cautious. See a doctor and get a thorough medical screening before attempting anything.
Whether you are overweight and obese is determined by your Body Mass Index (BMI). If you are a healthy person of average weight, your BMI will be 25 and below. If your BMI is above 35, you are considered morbidly obese, and anything in between is overweight or obese. Dr Tian said that the screening will cover the cardiovascular system, heart and lungs to check if the person will be putting himself at risk when he exercises. If you have underlying problems which are not addressed, you risk getting an angina or collapsing without warning when exercising, he added.
Exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. These reasons alone should inspire anyone to get active. However, if a person is dealing with any kind of illness, he should check with his doctor to see if it is okay for him to exercise.
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