The Cold War: Survival of the Fittest (Part 2) – Stay in Shape When You’re Sick

Voila, Part 2 of my Cold War series is here! In this case, we discuss the best exercises for keeping our immunity strong, and even boosting it! But just because that’s true doesn’t mean you should hit the gym or run in the rain. I actually find it disrespectful if I were to show up sick at a public place because I’d spread my germs everywhere. How would you feel if a complete stranger suddenly gave you the cold?

I’ve also provided some mini three-round circuit routines that are pretty good breakdowns of where to start. What you can do isn’t limited to only those moves but they give a good idea as to what you should do. Before I start, let me say I am not a certified personal trainer. Working out is all based on your own intuition. Do what works best for you. Some people can do HIIT with a fever and a bad cough while others are so sick they can’t move at all. Therefore my advice won’t work for everyone but it will for some.

Do these workouts three times with a minute rest in between each round, and 15 second rests in between each move–more or less depending on how sick you feel.

If you have a bad cough…

  • There’s honestly nothing holding you back from a good workout. Just exercise as you normally would. However, if you’re coughing so frequently that you have trouble breathing and can’t concentrate, don’t do any super quick high-intensity moves. If you want, you can use weights so as long as you’re not on “bodybuilder” mode. Below I have good total body and cardio moves you can do on a cough with modifications!
    • 3 × 12 jump lunges on each leg (modification: skip jump)
    • 3 × 20 leg lifts
    • 3 × 15 medicine ball squats (can be done medicine ball-free)
    • 3 × 30 seconds mountain climbers
    • 3 × 15 tricep dips or tricep kickbacks with dumbbells
    • 3 × 7 burpees (YES, you can do burpees on a cough! If it’s a SUPER horrible one, then walk these out)
    • 3 × 15 push-ups (modification: use knees)
    • 3 × 25 inner thigh lunges (each leg)
    • 3 × 30 seconds bicycle crunches

With a headache…

  • These are the WORST. You can’t concentrate, think properly and all you can focus on is the pain. Cardio, HIIT, weight training and advanced aerobics are not recommended unless if headache is minor. Find exercises where you rest your head. This includes leg raises, bridge lifts, and all lower body moves lying down. Perfect excuse for more glutes, abs and booty!
    • 3 × 20 glute kickbacks (each leg)
    • 3 × 40 second bottom-half supermans (Just lift your legs in superman pose. You can rest your head on the floor.)
    • 3 × 15 single-leg crunches (each leg)
    • 3 × 30 inner thigh scissors
    • 3 × 25 side leg raises (each leg)
    • 3 × 35 reverse crunches
    • 3 × 35 second wall sit
    • 3 × 10 slow rollovers
    • 3 × 20 chair bridges

For those with a churning stomach…

  • Anything where you have to jump up and down or twist your waist all around is not a Bueno idea. If you have a stomachache, make it arm day. Only stick to back, glute or arm exercises (weights can be included!), but if you really want to work on your abs then stick to the lower or upper areas and never the entire core.
    • 3 × 15 shoulder presses (using 3lb+ dumbbells)
    • 3 × 15 bicep curls
    • 3 × 20 goblet squats (can also be done weight-free)
    • 3 × 20 back rows (using 3lb+ dumbbells or a rowing machine)
    • 3 × 17 weighted-leg raises (resistance band or dumbbell)
    • 3 × 15 elbow push-ups
    • 3 × 20 weighted single-leg bridges (can also be done without weights)
    • 3 × 20 tricep extensions (can be done with one or two dumbbells)
    • 3 × 30 second side plank (each side)

On a high fever…

  • Anything that is not cardio or HIIT, so that includes low intensity exercise. Make sure your routine won’t mess with your body temperature, otherwise recovery is more difficult.
    • 3 × 30 second standing back bend
    • 3 × 10 slow padahastasana squats (careful not to put your head too close to your knees!)
    • 3 × 30 second stationary lunge (each leg)
    • 3 × 1 minute stationary downward dog (this is a great opportunity to stretch your calves!)
    • 3 × 15 plank crawls
    • 3 × 15 pointed butt lift (each leg; do this very slowly)
    • 3 × 30 second cobra
    • 3 × 30 second stationary one-legged squat
    • 3 × 20 second child pose

To relieve aching all over…

  • Low-moderate exercises are the best for you. After a moderate workout, make sure to stretch thoroughly. Foam rolling does wonders, as well as static yoga poses.
    • 3 × 12 hamstring rolls
    • 3 × 15 outer thigh rolls (alternate each leg)
    • 3 × 12 quad rolls
    • 3 × 15 back rolls
    • 3 × 5 stationary oblique stretch: looks just like Blogilates’ candlestick dipper, and hold each side for as long or as quickly as you want!
    • 3 × 20 glute sways: hold in bridge position and just sway your hips side to side
    • 3 × 30 second right side cobra
    • 3 × 30 second left side cobra
    • 3 × 20 calf rolls

Extra Tips!

  • Drink water to stay hydrated–this is vital if you have a fever, but important overall!
  • After the workout is done, replenish your body with a delicious post-workout snack/meal with a good ratio of carbs, fats and proteins. Hot tea, veggie soups and macrobowls are perfect! If you want a smoothie, make sure it’s not too cold because food is easier to digest if at least at room temperature. You can click here for some healthy recipe ideas on my blog!

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Showing any worse symptoms such as vomiting, horrible nausea, chills or frequent loss of breath? Do exercises as low of intensity as possible, or don’t do anything at all. Sometimes the best thing to be safe is just rest.

In all honesty, this is just an overview of what I’d do. These circuits may or may not work for you; they can be too hard or too easy. Again, I’m not a personal trainer or certified fitness teacher–just a junior trying to avoid the high school plague! Really. Listen to your body. Wanna work out, great, if you don’t, great! Personally I never used sickness as an excuse to stop exercising so as long as my stomach felt okay and I wasn’t pushing myself too much.

So be on the lookout for Part 3 and the final part of enduring the last days of the winter where I’ll share my complete list of tips on how to survive the flu! However, I don’t think March has much to offer in terms of sun. Surprisingly, California kinda let me down this year. 😦

Anyways, let me know down below if you want to see more workouts, pictures or videos of me doing these routines, what your favorite exercises are and also if you hate being sick like I do!


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