Should You Workout When You’re Sick?

posted April 15, 2016

If you’re feeling a little under the weather, should you still follow through with your workout? Sometimes working out when you are sick can do more harm than good. But when is it okay to cheat on your fitness routine with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and Netflix? Here’s how to know when you’re too sick to work out.


The Neck Rule


In general, if you have a common cold or mild upper respiratory symptoms, it may be best to scale back by decreasing the intensity and length of the workout. If the symptoms are around your neck and above (Think: Sneezing, runny nose, and scratchy throat), it’s fine to do a light workout. The only exception to this rule is if you have a fever. Fevers raise your body’s temperature. Working out with a high temperature leads to dehydration more easily and it can even increase your risk of heart failure. Don’t make it worst by overexerting. After your fever has subsided or you’ve recovered from a bad illness, you may want to avoid workouts for another 24 to 48 hours. And when you do get back into it, start back up slowly.




Below The Neck


If you feel sick below the neck (Think: Hacking cough, chest congestion, muscle aches, chills, and upset stomach), you should take it easy. By overexerting yourself when you’re unwell, you may inadvertently prolong the illness and make it worse. You will recover faster if you take the time to rest and let your body heal.


The Takeaway


You know your body better than anyone. The rules of working out while sick are not written in black and white. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it’s saying you can do a light workout, then go for it. If you feel like you need to take a break, don’t feel guilty for missing a workout!