A challenge I’ve encountered over the years is deciphering when a sluggish feeling is just something to push through, or it’s there because my body needs to recover.
That gets even more difficult when it feels like I’m coming down with some sort of illness. I’ve read research that indicates exercise can actually boost the immune system and help the body fight off a cold, but whether one should push depends on how severe the illness is. Of course, that comes down to feel more than anything since most of us don’t have access to a white blood cell count or an antibody report.
Just today, in fact, I woke up feeling congested and a little disoriented, but not terribly different from other days when seasonal allergies strike. (Fall knocks me on my butt the worst. I root for all the leaves and flowering plants to wither and die.)
There’s almost no right answer on days like today. Trial and error is the only way to go.
One little cheat I’ve developed is that, if I drink my morning coffee and I still feel like crap, I’m probably sick. I’m not a doctor, but my guess is that my body is saving its energy to fight off an illness in that case. In other words, it won’t allow the chemical stimulation of the caffeine to recruit extra energy like usual. (This all sounds very legitimate in your Dad’s mind, by the way.)
Another helpful ‘tell’ is the first 10-15 minutes of a workout. Typically, I hit that moment when I break a sweat and I feel invigorated by it. If that doesn’t happen — or I already seem out of gas — then it’s probably time to call it quits.
Take it from someone who’s sabotaged his short-term health more than once to get that workout buzz: Give it a quick go if you must, but don’t bang your head against the wall after that. Same goes for any kind of activity, for that matter. You can probably tell if you have it in you before too long.
In short: Listen to your body. Unfortunately, you’ll have to develop your own rapport so I can’t draw up a formula for you to follow. Life! I never said it would be easy.
P.S. What do you know? I actually followed my own advice today, after a false start at the Bellevue YMCA. Time to lay low … and hopefully not spread this to you or Mom.
Calories burned (active): 475
Minutes exercised: 32
Hours stood: 14
Steps taken: 6,498
Activity: One-mile run at 7 mph
Hours shirtless: None (gotta preserve that body heat for healing)