Tough it out or sit out? Your Belly Dance Practice vs Cold & Flu Season
It’s that time of year – you are probably surrounded on all sides by sneezing, coughing people!
Dancing and exercise in general help strengthen your immune system, along with other healthy habits like eating well and getting enough sleep. Still, you may find that you’ve fallen victim to the germ attack. It’s frustrating to have started the year on a roll with consistent dance practice, regular class attendance and a good supplemental exercise routine to improve your belly dance, only to be derailed by the “flu-bonic plague” as some of my Twitter friends have dubbed it.
How do you know if you should tough it out or sit out?
Most physicians advise using the “neck rule.”
If your symptoms are above the neck- for example a sore throat, congestion or sneezing- then you can go ahead with your plans for belly dance class or exercise. If your symptoms are below the neck – a fever, coughing, or body aches – then it’s time to give it a rest.
With the “neck rule” in mind, there are a few more things to consider. Bodies that are used to moving just feel worse when they are forced to sit still. I know that I am one of them. If your symptoms are below the neck, and you feel you have the energy, consider taking a short walk. Just a little bit of moving around can make a world of difference to your mental outlook and get your circulation going. If you don’t have it in you, then put on a movie and ride it out. This too shall pass. You can still get your “belly dance fix” by listening for new music to use when you’re feeling better, practicing your zills (if you don’t have a pounding headache) or checking out some YouTube videos for inspiration and to distract you from your nose that’s running like a faucet.
Even if your symptoms are above the neck, you are likely not up to your full potential. Give yourself permission to just do what you can do. Walking and light jogging are good choices for a scaled-back workout. Yoga is also a good restorative exercise choice. Dance a little, rest a little. The key here is to listen to your body and give it what it needs for now.
One final consideration… how not to be part of the “germ attack”
Cold and flu buggers are spread most often from your hands to your mouth, eyes and nose. If cold medicine can keep you from sneezing, and blowing your nose in class and you have the energy then you can probably make it through belly dance practice without being a health hazard to your troupe-mates. Also, consider taking your other exercise outdoors or keeping it at home rather than going to the gym where you might either spread your germs on the shared equipment, or pick up something new while you are in a compromised state.
I hope you don’t need any of this advice and are having a healthy winter free of the “flu-bonic plague”! If you do go down for the count, rest up, eat well and you’ll be back on the dance floor in no time!