Exercising with a Sinus Infection (without Making It Worse)

Posted in: Sinus News  |  May 4, 2012 
Exercising with a Sinus Infection (without Making It Worse)

If you’re plagued with sinus infections, then you know that the headaches, congestion and throbbing facial pain that accompany them can make even the most basic daily activities feel like a hassle. But what if you’re trying to keep up an exercise routine? Within reason, it’s still possible to work out when sinusitis strikes – and some light stretches can even help alleviate your symptoms.

First off, evaluate how you feel before you decide whether to exercise during a sinus attack. If you don’t exhibit symptoms below the neck (for example, if you’ve avoided chest congestion and body aches) and if you’re not running a fever, then you’re generally safe for a mild fitness session. Be sure to consult your doctor if you’re not sure whether your symptoms warrant full rest, and let your body tell you whether you’re pushing too hard.

When you’re ready to work out, be sure to hydrate first. A hydrated body tends to fend off infections quicker. Additionally, some toxins could be released when you sweat, and it’s important to keep your fluid levels up. Choose a mild form of exercise, or opt for a walk or mild stretching until you feel your health return to its full, normal state.

To help reduce your sinusitis symptoms, these light exercises can help:

  • Relaxed breathing: Sinus headaches can cause you to tense your neck and face muscles, which actually worsens pain. In front of a mirror, breathe in for four seconds. Breathe out for six. Breathe from your stomach, and be sure that your jaw stays loose.
  • Ear to shoulder: Start by sitting in a chair with your back and neck straight and shoulders rolled down and back. Gently tilt your head to the right, as if you were trying to touch your ear to your right shoulder. Don’t force your head farther than it can reach naturally, and continue looking forward through the exercise. After holding for a few seconds, return to upright. Complete 10 repetitions per side.
  • Light rotation: Begin with the same posture as for the ear-to-shoulder exercise. Gently and slowly turn your head right, so that you feel a stretch but aren’t forcing the movement. Subtly tuck your chin under to keep your neck straight and to avoid jutting your head forward. After holding for several seconds, return to center. Run through 10 repetitions per side.

If your sinus symptoms don’t clear up in several weeks, or if you have concerns about maintaining your fitness routine while feeling ill, then check with a doctor. We’d be happy to answer your questions anytime.