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Exercise and the Flu

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Can Exercise Aggravate my Flu Symptoms?

While mild exercise can help boost your immune system, you may want to be gentle on yourself if you already have the flu. That's when it's time to listen to your body, and give it time to recover.

The bottom line? Rest your body when you have the flu. Allow your body a chance to adjust to the stress of illness. Your immune system functions best when it is not stressed or in overdrive.

Are There Tips on When to Exercise -- or not Exercise -- With the Flu?

If you have a fever with the flu, then be wary of exercise. Typically, people with the flu have fevers for two to five days. A fever is a sign that your body is battling a viral or bacterial infection. Exercising may stress your body even more and result in dehydration. It could delay your recovery from the flu. Also, the flu is contagious. You can infect others for up to 7 days after you have symptoms. You should therefore wait  several days until your fever has broken and your body's feeling more energetic before returning to your regular exercise regimen if you exercise with other people.

If you don't have a fever yet suffer with other flu symptoms, it's advisable to talk to your doctor before lacing up your sneakers. After all, they'll still be in the closet in a few days when you're fully recovered from the flu.

(For more information, check out WebMD's video Exercise: Boost Your Immune System.)

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Ann Edmundson, MD, PhD on June 21, 2012
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