Should You Exercise When You Are Sick 0
in Fit on the Side Healthy Living

Should You Exercise When You Are Sick

Should you exercise when you are sick? It seems like everyone around me is sneezing, coughing or running a fever. As soon as the seasons change, everyone has the flu and try as we might, it’s not always possible to function. Then again for some of us, missing a workout is not an option. After all, we know that getting regular exercise will help you ward off future colds.
So what do you do? Do you go anyway (nevermind all the healthy people, right?) or do you stay home, wallow a bit and focus on getting healthy?

should you exercise when you are sick


You wake up with that, uh-oh I think I’m coming down with something feeling. You know that dreaded feeling. One minute everything is fine and the next you are feeling slightly off and your throat is scratchy. While it’s probably very tempting to just skip the gym, you don’t have to. Working out with a slight cold is fine. If you start to feel worse, that’s when you want to ease up on the intensity of your workout. If you are still functioning, it’s fine to keep moving. Simply ease up on the intensity, don’t lift as heavy or take a walk instead of doing a long run.

Most of your symptoms are from the neck down.  If you have a generic cold (sniffles, a sore throat, watering eyes, congestion) and you feel okay after taking some medications, you can work out.  Of course, play it by ear, but if you are holding it together then continue. If,  however, you have a bad chest cold or an upset stomach, a fever or body aches then it’s probably wise to take the day off.

You have a fever and can’t hold your food down.  If you have a fever or are sick to your stomach, leave the gym for another day because your body needs a rest. A part of strengthening your immune system is not overdoing it and getting lots of sleep, so listen to your body and take a break.

What else can you do? If you still want to move (and you feel well enough not to be passed out on your couch) then opt for a very light yoga class that you can do at home, or a go for an easy walk.

When do you start back? It might take up to a week or more to get back on track, so start off slowly and build your strength back up gradually. For the first few workouts, do a longer warmup and don’t go as hard.  Read: BEST WARMUP FOR YOUR WORKOUT

should you exercise when you are sick

Remember that a part of having a healthy immune system is proper rest, so if you exercise a lot make sure that you are also scheduling rest days. If you do decide to go for a workout with a cold, just make sure that you are respectful of others who may not want to share in your germs and bring extra hand sanitizer.

Do you ever exercise when you are sick?

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images courtesy of dollarphotoclub


Caroline has been dancing ballet and modern for most of her life. She has worked as an indoor rock climbing instructor, personal trainer and most recently, a top level, fully certified Pilates instructor teaching high profile athletes and Hollywood celebrities.

Latest posts by Caroline (see all)

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