Should You Workout When You’re Sick?

Should You Workout When You’re Sick?

It’s no secret that exercise is a fantastic way to improve your mood, maintain good health, and reduce the risk of health issues down the road. As little as three to four weekly sessions are more than enough for most people to feel great and reap all the benefits.

But what if you’re feeling under the weather? Would it be okay to exercise then, or should you take some well-deserved time off? 

Let’s discuss. 

Exercise While Sick: Yes or No?

Like any dedicated trainee, you’re probably wondering if it’s okay to stick with your regular training even if you don’t feel great. Many experts use the ‘above the neck’ rule: 

Do moderate exercise if you feel up to it and all the symptoms occur above the neck (stuffy nose, sneezing, etc.). But, avoid any form of exercise if the symptoms run below the neck:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Body aches

Let’s take a closer look.

When It’s Okay to Exercise

Though no two conditions are the same, most people would be okay to exercise when experiencing mild symptoms of the common cold. For example, if you’re experiencing a stuffy nose and are perhaps nursing a mild headache, a workout might do you good. Exercising could help with the congestion and might even alleviate your headache. 

Having a workout can also be beneficial if you have a mild cough and feel slightly under the weather. Reduce the intensity and focus on moving rather than pushing to your limits.

Alternatively, do a different form of exercise. For example, if you typically lift weights, go for a jog or ride your bike if the weather permits.

When to Avoid Any Form of Training

Despite its many benefits, it’s important to remember that exercise is a stressor to the body. As such, working out might not be advised if your body is already dealing with something and trying to recover.

You shouldn’t work out while experiencing a fever, even a mild one, because it would indicate that your body is fighting with a strong enough virus or infection. Piling more stress on your body through exercise might impair your ability to recover.

You also shouldn’t exercise if you’re experiencing dizziness, nausea, or a chest infection, even without a fever present. What matters most is that your body is dealing with stress, and you should give it time to recover.

A Few Final Words

The above recommendations will work great, but there is one more thing to consider about exercising while sick: covid-19. 

Yes, the truth is, exercise could be perfectly okay while going through the occasional bout of sniffles. But we’ve grown uneasy around the coronavirus, and it’s crucial to maintain your distance from others if you’re experiencing any symptoms. Exercise if you feel up to it, but keep your sessions at home or outdoors and return to the gym once you’ve recovered fully.

Alternatively, take a few days off exercise if you don’t feel well. Remember that training leads to stress that can impair your recovery and possibly worsen your condition.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.