Should You Exercise When Sick? Here's What You Should Know

Should You Exercise When Sick? Here’s What You Should Know

Engaging in regular exercise is an excellent way to protect yourself from colds and flu as it is one of the best immunity-booster. 30 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise like walking, biking, or running does wonders in improving your lifestyle and health, but it’s inevitable to feel under the weather now and then. When the occasional flu season hits, is it better to sweat it out or rest and recover? It’s tempting to force it to keep up with your routine, but the best results often come when you listen to your body. In that regard, here’s a guide on when you should or shouldn’t hit the gym if you’re feeling ill.


When your sickness if from the neck up

Wild illnesses from the neck up include sinus and nasal congestion, sore throat, or colds, all of which are placid enough to power through your exercise routine. Moderate exertion typically does not affect the duration or severity of these illnesses and can even provide minimal relief in some cases such as:


The Common Cold



This is a mild yet viral infection that affects your nose and throat. Despite the discomfort of having a sore throat, headache, and occasional coughing fits, there’s no pressing need to skip the gym. Some exercises may also help open up your nasal passages, which can relieve stuffy noses. However, pushing your body to its limit will only do more harm than good, so the best way to unlock its stress-busting, immunity-boosting effects is to scale back on the intensity of your workout routine.





An earache is a sharp, dull, or burning pain that can be caused by sinus infections, sore throat, tooth infections, or generally a notable change in pressure. As long as any ear infections are ruled out, and your sense of balance is still intact, you can continue to workout safely using a moderate pace. However, earaches are often uncomfortable and can cause a sensational pressure around the head, so be sure to avoid any exercises that involve putting pressure on your sinus region.


When your sickness is from the neck down

When you’re suffering from flu or fever, the immune system is working overtime to fight off the infection that’s causing it. Adding any form of physical stress can hinder your immune system from properly doing its job. To that end, here are the times when you should take a break off from your intensive routine.





You have a fever when your body temperature rises above its normal range of 37 degrees Celsius, which is commonly caused by a bacterial or viral infection. The side effects include weakness, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and can even increase the risk of dehydration. In that regard, any physically demanding activities should be put to a halt as fever weakens your muscle strength, lowers your endurance, and impairs your coordination, all of which can add up and lead to potential injuries.



Frequent Cough


Productive episodes of coughing is a sign of respiratory infection like cold, flu, or even pneumonia. These symptoms impair your ability to breathe properly, and exercise tends to aggravate it more as your heart rate rises. Shortness of breath can lead to extreme fatigue, which will only put unnecessary stress on your body and increase your chances of passing out from exhaustion. 

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Jack of all trades... master of none! Father of 3 awesome boys, husband to 1 amazing wife! Obstacle racer, procrastinator, computer nerd, trying not to follow the herd!

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