Outrunning the Cold Season

I firmly believe that when I am exercising regularly that I also stay a lot healthier. I don’t know what it is, but I can leave the house in the morning feeling sniffly, cold-like symptoms all day, then I’ll run at night and feel a million times better! I’ve often wondered if deep the breathing that running induces helps clear things out or something.
I researched a little bit about how I feel when I’m sick and running this morning and didn’t find anything conclusive about whether or not science has figured out if exercise while sick is good or not, but I did read several articles that said it’s ok to run with a cold if your symptoms are above the shoulders (head cold, no fevers), exercise can help clear bronchioles, sinuses and nasal passages and, most often, people who exercise when they have a cold report feeling better afterwards. While there’s no definite proof that running does or doesn’t make your cold shorter, the person feels better, and I think that definitely counts for something.
Last week I was feeling a little under the weather. I’d been feeling a cold creeping on for a while and things were spiraling up to full-blown illness, so I took a few days off to see if I could beat it. I woke up feeling pretty cruddy on Thursday, but I donned my running shoes and we took off for St. Edward Park for a nice, 5 mile run. When I got back, I felt amazing. The cold symptoms were nearly gone, I could breathe and the run seemed to clear out my sinuses quite nicely. The next day I ran about three miles, and the following day I ran about 2.5. Every day that I ran resulted in an instant fix. I felt so much better! Then on Sunday I went to the spa, got a facial and body scrub and didn’t so much feel like running, then felt cruddy that night and all day Monday. Last night, after work, I ran a 1.5 miler and, again, felt better. Today I woke up feeling cruddy again and am planning on a freezing cold run, as the frost came for the first time last night. I’m trying, again, to chase this persistent cold away, or, if it’s a brand new set of allergies, at least make the symptoms go away for the day!
I’m hoping that with regular running I’ll be able to have a solid, winter season with little illness. I used to look forward to sick days as a day of recuperation, but I think it’s also ok to look at sick days as healing days, of being proactive to take care of myself. There are more ways to cure a cold than just laying around in bed. For me, I like running when I’m sick. Well, I like the way I feel after a run when I’m sick. The anticipation sucks and the run is really hard at first, but afterwards I feel almost normal. Running while sick? It’s a good thing! (She says all shiny and bright like Martha Stewart!)
Completely unrelated… I’ve never paid attention to this song in a real way, but it got stuck in my head this weekend… I’m totally in one of those overwhelming vortexes of loving my husband like crazy cakes right now and it is resonating with me. 🙂

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