Should You Workout While Sick?

After feeling like shit the past few days I knew it was about time to take off from the gym. Today I woke up feeling alright, but was it a good idea to start working out again (I did)? If I don’t feel too terrible I usually end up feeling significantly better after getting a workout/sweat in. Is this the same for everyone though?

Q: When you feel a cold or flu coming on, should you change your workout routine?

A: If you feel like you’re coming down with a common cold, you can still exercise without noticeable limitations. If you begin to feel worse after your workout, though, you should cut it back. Take a few days off or reduce your effort. Keep in mind the above-the-neck rule: If your symptoms include a runny nose, cough, or sneezing, you should be fine to exercise. If your symptoms are below the neck, such as chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc., be sure to rest up.

Q: What should you do when you’re in the midst of a cold or flu?

A: Please stay home if you have a fever, stomach symptoms or the flu. If you’re wiped out with fatigue there’s no point to work out. Plus, you’re contagious the first 5-7 days. Be respectful to other gym-goers. Rest allows your immune system to fully recover. Get to bed early to get extra sleep, drink plenty of fluids (alcohol doesn’t count lol), take over-the-counter medicines or ibuprofen as you recover.

Q: When should you resume your regular exercise routine after you’ve recovered?

A: Listen to your body (this can solve a lot of your fitness questions). Colds typically last for a week, but you may need as many as 2-3 weeks to recover from the flu. Start at 75% of your normal workout and increase gradually for the first week or so. If you attempt to get back too soon, you may just end up prolonging your recovery. Please note you may also experience shortness of breath if you’re recovering from an upper respiratory infection.

PS: After working out yesterday I woke up feeling a bit better than yesterday, so I’m going to workout again today! Like I said previously as long as you listen to your body you should be alright. Don’t try to overcomplicate things and make it harder than it needs to be. Your body knows just as much, if not more than your mind 🙂

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