When you’re feeling under the weather, the last thing you probably want to think about doing is going for a run on the treadmill. However, there are some situations where exercising while you’re sick can actually be beneficial, potentially shortening the length of your illness and the severity of your symptoms.
Before you decide to brave it out and don your workout clothes, however, there are a few things you need to know about exercising while sick.
Sicknesses you Shouldn’t Exercise With
Working out while you’re sick can help give your body the boost of energy it needs to power through your illness. However, exercising while sick isn’t always a good idea. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid exercising when you have symptoms below the neck. This includes fever, body aches, diarrhea, or vomiting. Exercise can make these symptoms worse, especially if you’re used to doing more intense exercises, such as HIIT training.
On the other hand, if your symptoms are at or above the neck (sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, etc.), you are most likely okay to continue exercising. Ultimately, you should let your body be your guide. If you’re feeling really under the weather and your body is telling you to rest, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a day off from your exercise routine.
Best Exercises When You’re Sick
If you are sick, you’ll probably want to keep your exercise on the light side until your body has a chance to recuperate. Fortunately, there are plenty of great and low impact exercises you can consider when you’re feeling under the weather. Some of these include:
You’ll typically want to avoid high impact or very strenuous activities when you’re not feeling well. Team sports, running, endurance training, and heavy strength training should all be postponed until you’re feeling better.
When done properly, exercising while you’re sick can help to boost overall immunity and potentially help you fight off your illness faster. On the other hand, pushing yourself too hard when you’re sick can have the opposite effect and depress your immune system, so be mindful of your body and its limits.
Other Important Considerations
When it comes to exercising while sick, there are some other important considerations to keep in mind as well. For starters, be mindful of others. If the illness you have is contagious, you should avoid going to the gym or participating in any team sports where you could accidentally spread your sickness to others. Instead, focus on workouts you can enjoy at home or in your neighborhood, such as taking a walk around the block or engaging in a living room yoga session.
If you decide to work out while you’re not feeling your best, take frequent breaks as needed and be sure to stay adequately hydrated. Don’t push yourself too hard, and if you begin to feel faint or nauseous, end your workout immediately.
And of course, if you have any questions or concerns about continuing to exercise while you’re not feeling well, it’s always best to consult with your physician. The same thing applies if your symptoms are severe or don’t improve within a few days. Exercise can do great things for your body, but it’s not an alternative to medical care.
The Bottom Line
Overall, while it may seem like being sick is a great excuse to skip that workout, this is not typically the case. If you’re dealing with a fever, body aches, vomiting, or digestive issues, there’s nothing wrong with sitting it out for a day or two until your symptoms improve. At the end of the day, you know your body better than anyone, so listen to what it’s telling you. And of course, don’t hesitate to see a doctor if things don’t improve or if your symptoms become severe.
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