Ever wondered should you exercise when you're sick? Exercise is usually OK if your symptoms are all above the neck. These signs and symptoms include those you may have with a common cold, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or a minor sore throat. If you feel up to it, keep your regular routine. Some people feel better when they get in a good sweat.
If you feel like you want to do something active but just can’t fathom your normal workout, consider scaling back on the intensity. Go for a walk instead of a run. Do some yoga instead of strength training. Decreasing the intensity of your workouts makes breathing during the workout easier and is less taxing on your immune system. If you find that the physical exertion makes you feel worse rather than better, stop and rest until you are well again. Here's when the answer to should you exercise when you're sick is definitely a big NO.
1. You Feel Light-headed and Dizzy
2. You're Achy, and You're Already Sweating or Shivering
3. You're Nauseous or Vomiting
4. You Look Lethargic and Pale
5. Your Mouth is Particularly Dry
6. You Can't Put Your Finger on It, but You Just Don't Feel Right
7. You Feel a Cold Coming on
8. Your Symptoms Are below the Neck, Such as Chest Congestion, a Hacking Cough or Upset Stomach
9. Don't Exercise if You Have a Fever, Fatigue or Widespread Muscle Aches
Exercise can help you keep from getting sick in the first place. But during flu season, try to use the gym when it isn't too crowded with sneezing, snuffling Type-As who will infect you with more than their enthusiasm for a brisk workout.
However, don't forget how to exercise. Sometimes a long bout with injury or flu can get you out of your routine and turn you into a couch potato. Don't let this happen! Call in all your resources, get with a trainer or your best buddy and get back on track once you're healthy.
Wash your hands frequently, eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of water and get adequate sleep. If you can find some room on your calendar, be sure to schedule a little me time. If you exercise in a public setting, like a gym, please consider your fellow exercisers and think about how contagious you might be. If you can't get through a single set on a weight machine without coughing or sneezing, you have my permission to stay home with a box of tissues and some hot tea!
Whether or not you should exercise when you are sick is really an individual decision based on your specific symptoms and how you are feeling. If you do not exercise regularly, it is probably best to wait until you are feeling well before starting a fitness routine. If you aren't sure, check with your healthcare provider.