By Dr. Yael “Dr. V” Varnado
For many Lucille Roberts ladies the winter months are the time to make right on their New Year’s resolutions and work on getting their bodies ready for spring and summer! What better time to talk about the Do’s and Don’ts of working out.
I often get questions ranging from “can I work out when I’m under the weather” to “can I work out when I have my period” so I thought this would be a great chance to answer some of my most common “can I work out” questions in one place for you!
Q: Can I Work Out When I’m Under the Weather?
A: Working out when you are sick is an interesting situation. I personally think that it’s best to wait until your fever and chills have been resolved. Then once you are back to your “baseline” regular self get back to working out.
When you do get back into your routine go slow and make sure you stay hydrated Also, don’t push yourself too much and end up making yourself tired, weak because then you could find you’re sick again,
Finally, show some respect for your fellow work-out buddies! No one wants to work out next to someone who is coughing, sniffling or spreading germs!
Q: Can I Work Out After a Few Happy Hour Drinks?
A: This is a big no-no! Not only will you not be feeling well enough to maximize the benefit of a work out, drinks can lead to a lack of balance and good decision making, not to mention dehydration, which all make you more prone to injury. If you want to try to lessen the health blow of happy hour drinks, instead opt for a tall glass of water in between your cocktails, get home early, rest up and try for the gym again in the morning.
Q: Can I Work Out When I’m Hungover?
A: Of course this really depends on the degree of hungover, if you still feel drunk or are sweating and ill, take it easy or pick a very low impact activity – perhaps one at home just in case you need to call it a day after a few minutes. That said if it’s only a mild hangover, it’s a great way to boost your endorphins and make yourself feel less guilty about the drinking you did the night before. KEY here as always – stay hydrated! And only do a gentle work out if you can manage it.
Remember: If you’ve been drinking heavily, you could be a little dehydrated, you could be metabolically behind on your nutrition, and before you even think about exercising your body requires hydration and nutrition.
Also remember this: One drink—a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor—is metabolized by your body in about an hour, so the whole “sweat it out” theory is myth.
Q: Can I Work Out If I’m Pregnant?
A: As with most health questions, the first thing to recognize here is that everybody and every body is different. Always check with your doctor before beginning any pregnancy work out routine. That said, being pregnant is not an excuse not to work out, in fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise today if you’re pregnant.
The better shape you’re in the easier your labor could be! That said, stick to what is safe and feels good! You may not want to be doing hard core running as your pregnancy progresses but stationary cycling, swimming, light dancing, power walking and more will help keep you fit. Also look for classes focused on pregnant women, who adjust their work-outs with you and your body in mind!
Remember that your growing belly changes your balance so avoid exercises where you could risk falling, which include vigorous exercises, and also try to avoid contact sports and competitive racket sports.
Also remember that hydration is key here – as always! Start and end each work out with water!
Q: Can I Work Out When I Have My Period?
A: If it’s a “heavy” day or you’re feeling tired or light headed, give yourself a get out of jail free card, rest up and practice self care! Otherwise, the answer is a yes on non-heavy days working out can be good to increase uterine and ovarian blood flow and help rid yourself of pain. It is also great because getting moving will help the body get rid of toxins and also helps with swelling and water and fluid retention.
Remember, if you want to work out but don’t want to push yourself too hard on these days, switch up your high impact work out for Pilates, a long power walk or yoga!
Dr. Yael “Dr. V” Varnado is a Cornell-educated physician and a medical and health expert, known for her ability to deliver straight, relatable and relevant information on timely topics that matter most.
She is passionate about women’s health issues and teaching all those she reaches about preventative care, helping to stop heath problems before they start. Dr. V is the creator of the Live Right at Night Campaign focusing on women’s sexual and physical health and safety between the hours of 5 pm and 9 am.
She is also the founder of the Get Checked for Life non-profit that assists members of underserved communities, improving their quality of life by educating and giving them access to the necessary tools and medical resources. You can find Dr. V on Facebook and Twitter via @AskDrV and online at www.AskDoctorV.com