There are many things in this world that supposedly have medicinal qualities. Some I believe in, while others I am not so sure. For example, I am 100% behind Linus Pauling and vitamin C. When people started getting sick at work, or the kids start catching colds, I dose up. I take 3000 mg a day in pill form PLUS at least one orange a day. My theory is whatever my body doesn’t need it will get rid of. (It also means I will never get scurvy.)
My wife and I also are firm believers that Kraft Mac and Cheese is medicinal. Don’t ask me why, but no matter how bad I feel, I always feel better after a bowl of that. Especially the way I make it. This makes as much sense to me as people who do “oil pulling” or go to acupuncturists. It’s not weird if it works.
My contention, though, is exercise outdoors has medicinal properties.
Now we have all had our mom’s in the past say “Put your coat on! You’ll catch pneumonia! Its (Cold, raining, cold and raining) out there!” Shoot I have probably said it myself to our kids. But I firmly believe more than once I have been “cured” by getting outside and working out hard.
Each of us has a way to tell when we are “catching something.” Could be a headache, sore throat, achy, stuffy nose or many other things. For me, breathing just kind of tastes funny. I can tell congestion is coming.
Now a smart man would hunker down and stay warm and try to fight it off. I have rarely been accused of having an overabundance of common sense. I think differently. I know that if I get sick, I will have to give up exercise until I am at least a little better. So my theory is “If you know you are going to be sick, get one last hard workout in!”
I can distinctly remember quite a few times I have felt pretty bad, and could tell “Something is coming on.” So I went for it! Hard workout, maybe even harder than normal, to make up for the ones I will miss. Then a hot shower and bed.
Low and behold, the next day, I wake up fit as a fiddle, not even a sniffle. These are times I was exposed to a sick person and had no doubts the next day was going to be bad. But it makes no sense, a work out shouldn’t do that…
Or should it? I have a hypothesis. Not proven at all, nor do I want to try to have it disproven (since it works for me). The work out cures you in three ways:
First: You get your body temp up when working out. (it’s why you aren’t supposed to work out with a fever). Bacteria and viruses hate warm temps. So before it can take full effect it gets toasted.
Second: You sweat up a storm. This gets rid of toxins and crap inside you (OK maybe I just think it does) so again you speed up your body’s natural cleansing power.
And finally, and to me the most important, increased breathing. You breath much harder and faster when working out (OUT goes the bad air IN goes the good!) You aren’t supposed to breathe on people when you are sick, as they can catch it from the “germs” you give off. Well it stands to reason if you are breathing harder, outside, especially in the cold, you are exchanging “germ “ infested air with good clean oxygen and nitrogen. Once again speeding up the cleansing process!
I kid you not, it has worked often enough that I count it the pre-sick work out even more than the Mac & Cheese! So with cold and flu season upon us, resist the temptation to crawl in bed and give this a shot! Let me know if I am just nuts, or it actually works!