Can I Workout With Shingles?

Shingles are a skin problem featuring rashes consisting of blisters. A person with chickenpox may develop shingles caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV). This concern affects your face, causing rashes, and also affects your health. You want to know how shingles will impact your daily routine and regular activities.

The question that everyone wants to know is: Can I workout with shingles?

If you are going to exercise, do some gentle exercises like walking or stretching, but don’t try anything strenuous. You might feel fatigued and find it difficult to exercise when you have shingles. Take the necessary steps to elevate the symptoms of the disease by getting enough sleep and rest.

Let’s first talk about the symptoms and causes of shingles before discussing their effects on health. Let’s begin with shingles:

What is Shingles?

Shingles are painful rashes that develop on one side of the body or face. Blisters caused by viral infections cause these rashes. It normally wants 7 to 10 days for these to scab over; they clear up entirely within 2 to 4 weeks. People often experience pain, itching, or tingling before the rash appears.

shingles

Typically, tingling or pain on one side of the face or torso results from shingles, but they are not serious for a healthy individual. A person with shingles usually suffers from only a few signs and symptoms on one side of their body.

Causes 

Shingles is a type of skin disease known as Herpes Zoster. The virus responsible for it is Varicella-Zoster (VZV). Below are a few causes that can contribute to this condition:

  • Chickenpox and shingles are frequently caused by the Varicella Zoster virus (VZV). These viruses can remain inactive in the host body after chickenpox healing and cause shingles if they are reactivated.
  • A lowered immunity may cause it.
  • Shingles can also be contacted if you have AIDS or HIV.
  • Having recently undergone a bone marrow transplant or an organ transplant may also cause this condition.
  • Stress has been shown to sluggish the immune system, thus contributing to shingles. Anyone who suffers a sudden shock is at risk of developing shingles.
  • In case of cancer or digestive problems.

Symptoms

Shingles are not a severe problem in most cases. The majority of sufferers recover in two to four weeks. It is an irritating condition, but not a chronic one. Early treatment could help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the risk of complications. There are, however, some symptoms of shingles:

  • It causes tingling, numbness, and itching in a specific body area.
  • A solid band of red blotches resembles a severe burn. Even the gentlest touch may be painful.
  • Inflammation
  • Fever, headache, and sensitivity to light accompany the fatigue.
  • May cause confusion, memory loss, and symptoms that impact the ear area.
  • Irritable stomach

Complications

All the conditions as mentioned above aren’t severe, but you should see a physician if your symptoms are persistent and severe. Here are some severe complications of this disease:

  • Postherpetic neuralgia is characterized by shingles pains that continue after removed blisters. 
  • Shingles that form around the eye cause pain and can result in temporary or permanent vision loss
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, and hearing or balance issues can be caused by shingles.
  • A bacterial skin infection may occur sometimes.
  • Excessive fatigue
  • A malfunctioning digestive system may cause gastrointestinal issues; a stroke may occur and dementia if arteries in the brain are blocked.

Treatment

According to our previous discussion, shingles are not a cause for concern, but they may be harmful and contagious. It is essential to note that although there is no cure for shingles, antiviral medications can help blisters heal faster and limit the severity of pain. 

Often, shingles can be treated at home. The moment the first signs and symptoms of shingles appear, your doctor will prescribe an antiviral medicine, such as Zovirax, Valtrex, or Famvir- The same types of drugs used to treat oral and genital herpes.

You may be prescribed narcotic pain medication by your doctor if you are suffering from extreme pain. Other ways to reduce shingles’ rash pain include using tricyclic antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and topical numbing creams. Shingles vaccines are 

When To See Doctor?

The patient should get treatment as soon as possible when the disease onsets. The following conditions should be met before you should see your doctor:

  • If you are pregnant
  • Shingles at 60 or older. Complications are more likely at an older age.
  • Shingles, when you have a weak immune system caused by cancer medication or chronic illness
  • Rashes that are intense and painful, especially around the eyes
  • A temperature of 38 °C or higher
  • Having suffered a severe injury
  • Having a severe headache

Can I Workout With Shingles?

It is not advisable to exercise with shingles because you receive heavy fatigue due to this disease. You should rest and sleep properly. You should perform gentle, stress-free exercises to relieve stress.

can-i-workout-with-shingles

Beneficial Exercises

You can benefit from specific exercises in the following ways:

  • The following activities are free of stress: meditation, walking, climbing stairs, dancing, yoga, tai chi, gardening, and swimming. Engaging in healthy activities can improve health.
  • Exercises that boost the immune system to fight infection
  • While you heal, consider doing lower-intensity exercises like walking until the blisters dry up and crust over.

Harmful Effects

It is necessary to avoid heavy exercises, such as weightlifting, chin-ups, boxing, and others, due to pain and skin eruptions caused by shingles. These exercises might have adverse effects on your health. Some of these impacts are:

  • The early stages of shingles may be aggravated by intense cardio exercise like running or cycling.
  • There are specific exercises that pose a danger of serious injury, which results in Postherpetic neuralgia, in which your nerves are affected and may cause facial paralysis and hearing problems.
  • Performing particular exercises can result in blisters bursting and causing permanent pain.
  • Scratching or picking at the rash can delay healing and cause an infection.
  • Shingles are triggered by activities that cause a lot of sweating.

If you want to workout while suffering from shingles, you need to take precautions.

Things To Keep In Mind While Working Out with Shringles

Due to the viral nature of this disease, it is best not to work out in public places like gyms or swimming pools. When you have a rash, you are contagious and may infect someone who has not yet had chickenpox. These safety measures should be followed when you are working out with shingles.

Gentle Exercises

Yoga, Tai Chi, and swimming are all excellent exercises you can choose from. By practicing Tai Chi and Yoga, you keep your body shape and find peace within. Swimming is a great way to feel calm in the water.

Avoid hard exercises

Don’t put yourself through an exercise routine that is too stressful. Don’t sweat too much and dehydrate yourself while exercising. Dehydration can adversely affect your immune system.

Clothing

Put on loose-fitting clothes made of natural fibers. It is straightforward to exercise freely and without any constraints, if you wear loose t-shirts and pajamas. 

Wearing clothes made of cotton or linen is the best option. In addition, use a cool washcloth to help ease the pain and dry the blisters.

Dry Your Blisters

Make sure your blisters have started to heal, dried out, and scabbed over before going out to a public space to workout.

Reduce Friction

The colloidal oatmeal powder can help reduce friction between skin and clothing when exercising by applying it to blisters beforehand. Also, you can apply calamine lotion to soothe your skin.

Don’t Scratch Blisters

Keep the blisters clean and try not to scratch them to not become infected or scarred. After touching the blisters or rash, wash your hands immediately.

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FAQs

Question: Is Shingles contagious?

Answer: Those who have not had chickenpox before or have not had the chickenpox vaccine can still contract the varicella-zoster virus from fluid from a shingles rash. When the shingles rash is covered, the risk of spreading the virus is low.

Question: What do mild shingles look like?

Answer: A red raised rash typically appears a few days after the pain. Multiple blisters appear in stripes. When the blisters break, they become crusted. The patient may experience fever, chills, fatigue, and body aches. These are not severe symptoms.

Question: Do shingles come back?

Answer: Shingles can occur more than once. As we know, shingles is caused by Varicella Zoster virus (VZV), it stays dormant inside your nerves after chickenpox symptoms have gone away, kept in check by your immune system. For the second time, your chances of getting shingles are similar to the first time. 

Conclusion

Can I exercise with shingles? Well, that’s a common question. Shingles can disrupt your daily routines and make your life more difficult. 

However, it is good to have some exercises or activities to improve your inner peace. Although you can exercise with shingles, you should avoid heavy exercise. 

Shingles can go away on their own, but if they persist due to an injury or as the result of an abnormal workout, you should call your doctor as soon as possible.

Dr. Swathi Kilari

Dr. Swathi Kilari

Hello there! This is Dr. Swathi Kilari here, a writer in progress. I am a graduate of Cebu Doctors' University from the Philippines and am currently registered to practice in India. I write now and then to share my knowledge and experience about healthcare. I am happy to help you make wise choices to lead a healthy life. Healthcare and teaching are two of my passions. I am a food enthusiast, home baker, and cook. If I am not doing any of these, I am probably sleeping.

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