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Two Reasons to Exercise and Two Reasons to Stay Home
When Workouts Help and When They Hurt

If you're exhausted from the day before, exercise may not be a good idea.
Too much caffeine can be a problem!

One of the secrets of success is consistency. That's true for a job, a relationship and your health. Keep doing the work, every day regularly to succeed. For a strong body, that means sticking to a workout schedule. But some days you just don't feel like going to the gym. Here are two times it's OK to take the day off and two more when exercise can make things better.

Skip the gym if you drank too much caffeine. According to Health Canada, the average healthy adult shouldn't drink more than 400-450 mg. of caffeine daily. That's roughly the amount of caffeine you'll find in two 12 ounce cups of coffee. If you drink too much, you can experience nausea, dizziness and stomach problems. Working out can make those problems worse.

Excess caffeine can also interfere with the workout itself. Doing exercises like intervals require that you elevate your heart rate, then let it slow down to recover. Too much caffeine can keep your heart rate artificially elevated the entire time, hindering your recovery. If you've had too much, skip the workout and make a plan to cut back on caffeine.

Skip the workout if you did an intense full-body workout the day before. It takes your muscles between 24 and 72 hours to recover. Doing two intense workouts, targeting the same body part without a day of rest, may damage your muscles and set you up for injuries.

You can workout if you break things up. If you absolutely must workout two days in a row, split your training program. One day work upper body, the next lower. You can also workout the front of your body one day, then the back of your body the next. When you're doing full-body workouts, use the recovery day to do interval cardio.

You should workout if you're dealing with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One of the things exercise does is lower your stress. People with lower stress levels tend to have fewer IBS symptoms.

A study was conducted on 102 IBS patients at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. Half the IBS patients were advised to increase their physical activity to at least 20 or 30 minutes, three to five times a week. The patients IBS complaints were logged at the beginning of the study and again three months later. The exercisers reported a 51% decrease in symptoms, compared with only a 5% reduction from the non-exercisers.

Be careful in choosing your activities. Since running can aggravate IBS, some advance planning is necessary. If you insist on running outside, plan a course that takes you by several public restrooms. Otherwise, run indoors on a treadmill so you have immediate access to a bathroom. Less intense activities like weight training, walking or yoga have also been shown to help and are less likely to trigger IBS symptoms.

You should workout if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). People with COPD typically deal with shortness of breath. That makes exercise more difficult. As someone with COPD exercises less, the breathing problems get worse. The less they do, the less they can do. It turns into a downward spiral called progressive de-conditioning.

Talk to your doctor about exercise recommendations and start slow. You may need to use a bronchodilator to open your airways before exercise. If you're supposed to use oxygen during your daily activities, you'll need to use oxygen when you exercise as well.

Concentrate on programs that improve your cardiovascular fitness like ellipticals, stationary bikes, walking or aqua aerobics. Over time the exercise will lift your energy levels, increase circulation and improve how your body uses oxygen.

Sitting on the couch and watching television is easier than working out, but over time your body will pay the price. There are legitimate reasons to skip a workout, but more often than not, you need to get up and do it. 

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.