Should You Exercise When Sick?

Should You Exercise When Sick?

We are all told that exercise needs to be part of our daily routine.  It helps with controlling weight, can help your mental health, as well as just overall health.  It is suggested to exercise about thirty minutes a day for three to four times a week, to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  It can be awful though while you are in this wonderful routine of exercise to then all of sudden get hit with a cold or other illness to derail you off your routine.  The big question is should you exercise while you are sick?  

The answer to this question though can be different for everyone.  You will need to see what you feel up to do energy wise on top of making sure you aren’t overstraining your body so it can’t fight off the illness you are suffering from. 

A rule that is often used is the above the neck rule.  If you have symptoms above the neck then you are good to exercise.  If you are suffering from symptoms below the neck, you may want to wait until your symptoms have cleared up before jumping back into your exercise routine. 

Above the neck symptoms would include stuffy nose, sneezing, earaches, sore throat, or watery eyes.  If your symptoms are below the neck this could mean nausea, diarrhea, body aches, fever, cough, or chest congestion.  With these symptoms it usually is best to allow your body time to heal before you go for some vigorous exercise.  

 

Exercise & Your Immune System

Exercise can sometimes make you feel better when you feel sick.  It is true that exercise helps boost your immune system helping your body fight off infections.  You can however overexert yourself causing the negative affect, and damaging your immune system making it weaker.  The best plan of action is to see how you are feeling and assess what you think your body is up for.  If you are weak with aches and pains and can’t get out of bed, take the day off.  It is ok to miss one day of exercise to make sure your body can heal itself.  If you are unsure if you are well enough to exercise speak with your physician they may have some advice. 

 

Exercises To Avoid When Sick

There are some exercises that are not the best to do while sick.  These are usually exercises that put a lot of strain on your body and are easy to overexert yourself while doing. 

This can include team sports.  First your coach may not want you coming and breathing your germs all over your teammates, so if you are contagious stay at home you will be doing your team a favor by sitting this game out.  Also it is easy to overexert yourself in a competitive sport which can actually make yourself take longer to get over your sickness. 

Another exercise to skip when sick is maybe going to a gym where you use equipment other people use.  This goes along with the passing of germs to other people.  Common courtesy for the people around you wanting to exercise as well. 

Lifting weights while sick can actually put you at a higher risk of injury.  This can be if you aren’t getting enough sleep so you are more tired, and your strength has a tendency to be less while you are sick as well both of these can cause your body to be at a higher risk for injury.  Lifting weights can cause muscle strain which can actually cause sinus pressure or give you headaches. 

Endurance running is another exercise you may want to skip while sick.  It can be too high intensity putting your recovering body in jeopardy of lowering your immune system.  

 

Tips For Exercising When Sick

So there are some exercises you should pass on while you are under the weather but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some good choices for you to do.  Once you are feeling up to it, start with some low intensity workouts at first.  In just ten days of no exercise your strength starts to decrease.  Don’t be worried if you feel weak at first when you get back to exercising.  During your exercises you will want to make sure you stay as hydrated as possible. 

A good low intensity exercise is walking.  You can go at your own pace, and make it as long as you want to.  If you are a runner a short low intensity jog can also be a good exercise. 

Running promotes you to do deep breathing which can help relieve nasal congestion. 

Other low intensity workouts are Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and yoga.  All of these are exercises with also a bit of meditation.  The slow movements and deep breathing can get your body moving but may not make you break a sweat if you aren’t up for something too vigorous.  Qi Gong has shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, improve blood flow and increase energy.  Yoga is sometimes a good choice because you can pick a flow that is the intensity you are looking for.  As well it can help stretch your body and relieve aches and pains you may be having from your illness. 

Depending on what you are up for or used to you can also try dance or zumba, swimming, or even biking.  These are all exercises that you get to go at your own pace for and will put little stress on your joints. 

 

Final Thoughts

Whether you workout while you are sick or not is up to you.  It can be completely dependent on the person, or even the sickness.  Make sure you check with your doctor before doing any vigorous exercise if you are sick so that you don’t do more harm to your body than good.  Exercise is healthy for your body, but too much can have a negative effect on your body.  If you chose to exercise outdoors make sure to stay away from the cold air if you are sick, this could restrict or irritate already infected airways.  Listen to your body and be smart about when and how much you exercise while being under the weather.  

 

 

In just ten days of no exercise your strength starts to decrease.



Follow us

HealthStatus Team

HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators.

The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles.

Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

Follow us

Latest posts by HealthStatus Team (see all)

Share

HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our blood alcohol, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years. Our team of health professionals, and researchers use peer reviewed studies as source elements in our articles. Our high quality content has been featured in a number of leading websites, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Live Strong, GQ, and many more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *