Tom Willemann Health Tips

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Can I Exercise Safely with a Cold?

The average adult gets one to six colds every year, with symptoms lasting a week to 10 days.

Should you let these colds interrupt your exercise routine? Probably not, as long as you pay attention to what your body tells you.

Above the Neck Symptoms

In other words, if your only symptoms are a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes and a mild sore throat, go ahead and exercise, but keep your routine low to moderate in intensity and briefer than usual. Studies have shown that light-to-moderate exercise has no effect on a cold—it neither prolongs nor shortens the duration of symptoms. High-intensity exercise, on the other hand, has a negative impact on the immune system and may prolong cold symptoms.

Below the Neck Symptoms

If you have any below-the-neck symptoms such as a cough, chest congestion, fever, vomiting, diarrhea or body ache, then it is time to take a few days off. It is especially important to stop exercising if you have a fever because fever is an indication that the body is fighting an infection. When you have below-the-neck symptoms, support your immune system by getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated and eating nutritious food. Return to exercising gradually once symptoms disappear.

Although it is safe to exercise with a cold, please consider the health of your fellow exercisers. Cold viruses are easily transmitted and can live on hard surfaces such as exercise equipment for an hour or more. As a courtesy to your colleagues, try changing your workout to one that uses little or no equipment.

If you suffer from a cold, we can design a “cold workout” appropriate to your level of fitness. You may even find you enjoy the change in routine, and your fellow exercisers will thank you.

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
Tom Willemann

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