My Mom’s No-Fail Remedy for Colds + Should You Exercise When You’re Sick?

New Years resolutions for health and fitness are in full swing, but it’s not uncommon to face barriers when first building a habit of exercise and good nutrition.

You’re a few weeks in and you’re killing it- motivation is high, you’ve got an action plan, and you’re honing in on the foods which you’re putting into your body. But then, it hits you.


Should you exercise anyways? Will movement improve or worsen symptoms and your immunity system? How can you get back to crushing your goals as quickly as possible?

Studies show that being sedentary, or not moving at all, during a period of illness can actually decrease your immunity system, and thus, your ability to make a speedy recovery.

Making time for moderate activity, however, has been shown to improve your immunity system, while vigorous activity (such as heavy strength training) can actually reduce it’s ability to destroy disease-causing organisms!

What does this mean for exercising while sick?

Best Types of Exercise During Illness

Low intensity movement such as:
• Getting outside for a walk
• Band work or light weights at home
• Yoga or stretching- You can find amazing guided classes on YouTube- These are some of my favourites 🙂
Yin Yoga Class – Best Yoga For Slow Deep Muscle Release
20 Minute at Home Flexibility Workout

To feel better, get in a bit of movement but don’t overdo it – Exercise at too intense of a level could put your immune system under additional stress and hinder recovery.

When I was a kid, being sick meant spending part of the day with my face over a hot pot of water inhaling Eucalyptus-y steam. But it was no regular pot of water. It was a full blown set-up, which I accredit fully to my mom. For my lack of ability to describe it and an absence of embarrassing childhood photos, here’s a diagram:


Elementary me loved art.

You’ll need:
• A large pot
• A pan or cutting board
• A large sheet
• Some good reading material
• Essential oil (See below for types)
• 15 minutes


Step 1: Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Cover with lid immediately and transfer to a pot holder on your kitchen table.

Step 2: Place a cutting board or pan behind the pot. Support it (My mom usually used a 2L of juice or another reliable material to hold it in place).

Step 3: Drape a sheet over the entire contraption and your head. It’s best that the sheet cover everything- You want the steam to stay in there.

Step 4: Remove the lid with your face FAR AWAY. This is key, guys. Please don’t be looking directly into the pot as you lift the lid, because the steam is going to be eager to escape. Been there, done that. Would not recommend.

Step 5: Add essential oil drops.

For cough: Oregano, Eucalyptus, or Tea Tree
For cold: Lemon, Lavendar, Ginger, or Basil
For bodily fatigue: Juniper, Grapefruit, Peppermint, or Basil

Step 6: Set a timer for 15 minutes and intentionally take deep breaths. You can use this time to be mindful, or bust out that book you’ve been meaning to read!

Feel better soon / Stay well, my friends! As always, please feel free to send me a message or leave a comment if you have any questions. Keep rocking on,

Mikaila 🙂

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