Should You Exercise During Sickness?

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Should You Exercise When You’re Sick?

Cold and flu season can wreak havoc on your fitness program. My girlfriend recently suffered from a bout of the flu. She was coughing, felt achy and tired, and had nausea. She desperately wanted to continue with her exercise program but wisely decided to take some time off.

When your body is trying to fight an illness you don’t want to overtax it with strenuous exercise because you could run the risk of getting even sicker. If you have a fever, exercising is a no-no.

However, with other symptoms it’s not always easy to gauge whether you’re too sick to exercise or not. If you have a cold, exercising may help you feel slightly better. A brisk walk can unclog your sinuses better than spending an afternoon on the couch. And gentle exercise will improve your circulation to help offset that listless, rundown feeling. Do what you can do and if you can’t do it than don’t.

But if you don’t know if you should exercise or not do a “neck check”.

That is, if your symptoms are above the neck like sneezing, sore throat, tearing eyes, and runny nose then it’s probably okay to work out. (tweet this)

If your symptoms are below the neck like my friend’s coughing, body aches and fatigue, then wait until the symptoms subside.

Once you’re feeling better, use shorter, less intense sessions to build slowly back up to your former level. When my friend was feeling less sickly, she started back with a walk instead of her usual run. As her body healed she increased her intensity until she was back up to her normal level.

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