Healthy Heart, Healthy Head

exercising with sinusitusYou know exercise is good for you. From boosting your mood to improving your immune system, there are countless benefits to a regular exercise routine. While working out may help fend off viruses, even the most dedicated gym goer will come down with a cold at some point. Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs.

Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavity that affects 37 million Americans each year. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, and facial pressure. With full-blown sinusitis, you rarely feel like exercising. But if you do, use the 72 hour rule: No strenuous cardio for three days. Even without the presence of a fever, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.  The sinuses need time to recover, just like a knee or foot. Take the following precautions if exercising with sinusitis:

  • Do not weightlift. It is very important that an athlete not participate in weightlifting as the sinus infection is likely to weaken coordination, muscle control, and balance, which could result in a fall or serious injury.
  • Drink more water than usual. If you continue to work out with sinusitis, it is easier for the body to become dehydrated, since liquids are being released through the nasal cavities as well as through sweat. You should plan on consuming about twice the amount of water you regularly do in order to help quicken the healing process within the body, and to also prevent dehydration from the sinus infection.
  • Do not exercise with chest pressure. Pressure within the chest can make it harder to breathe, which could become a serious situation if you are not getting adequate respiration. If you can’t breathe properly this will put more pressure on the heart to work faster, which could lead to a stroke or heart attack.

Evaluate the severity of your condition to make the final determination as to whether you should be engaging in exercise.  If your only symptom is sinus congestion, you should be good to go. If, however, you are exhibiting symptoms of sinusitis, you might be better off skipping the workout and saving it for a day where you feel better.  Having trouble determining if you have sinusitis? Give us a call and we’ll get you back into your routine.

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