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Fitness Tips Blog

Should I still work out when I'm sick?

Jan 14, 2014

Logan George
FT Maple Grove


"First you must ask, "What am I sick with?" Knowing your illness will help you decide if you should work out. Second you ask, "Do I feel up to working out today?" Your energy level will tell you if you need to keep low for a while.

"If your answers to those questions do not keep you from working out I say give it a try. You can always modify the load or intensity of an exercise if need be."

Billy Pratt
FT Avon


"It really depends on how “sick” you are.  If it’s a case of the sniffles and you generally feel OK or you're just coming down with something, a light workout can help to boost your immune response to make you feel better and recover faster.  If on the other hand you have a headache, are feeling nauseous, are running a fever, or have the characteristic muscle aches of a more severe illness, you should not exercise and should just rest so you don’t make it worse.

"Bear in mind too that a light “recovery/immunity” workout must also take into account body positioning with relation to the head; sinus or nasal issues will require an elevated head with neutral spine to ensure adequate drainage so excessive congestion does not occur.  Trust me, as I used to suffer from chronic sinusitis."

Sue Teoli
FT New Canaan


"Your body is trying to recover and destroy bacteria or viruses when you’re sick.  But working out takes away some of your energy. Further, strenuous exercise can lower your immune system and cause you to get sicker.

"Personally, I work out when I am sick if I can, My energy and strength levels are lower but it makes me feel better. However, I know when I just can't and I have to rest."

Vanessa Ocasio
FT Auburn


"My answer in 95% of the cases is no.  When you are sick your body is already under a significant amount of stress.  Adding a workout session may do a disservice to most people while sick.  Listen to your body.  Use the extra time off for additional resting and feeding.  Giving your body extra sleep along with nourishing light meals will help your body fight infection and get back in the game quicker!"

Pam Carthew
FT East Greenwich


"This really depends on you and how well you know your body.  Working out with a slight sniffle and feeling a little under the weather won’t do you any harm.  However, working out with a fever is not a good idea as you already have a raised temperature and exercising will just raise your internal temperature even more.    If you are unable to lift your head off the pillow, stay at home.  Exercising is not going to make you feel better."

Frank Rosalie
FT Great Neck


"In one of my fitness journals they said that if you are feeling under the weather from the neck up you probably can.  A minor cold or running nose is OK.  From the neck down maybe not: stomach flu, fever or body aches."

Josh Bate
FT East Greenwich


"This is a tough question with a not-so-black-and-white answer! The issue with working out when you are sick is that you have to not only take into account your own health but the people that may be sharing your workout space with you. It's difficult to decide, especially if you are not quite in tune with your body just yet, whether or not you are too sick for a workout.

"If one is going to work out when sick I would recommend to scale down the intensity. Checking with your physician is also a good idea. If you are told you are contagious, sitting out the workout is a good idea. The body is not trying to focus on getting more fit when it is sick; it is focusing on expelling the virus you are currently ailing from."

Gwen Beckcom
FT Mission Hills


"It depends on how "sick" you are.  Listen to your body!  If you do decide to work out and find your energy is decreasing instead of increasing, that's usually a sign that your body needs rest. So stop, go home, jump in a nice soothing bath, get in some comfy jammies and rest up. Also, a rigorous workout can actually impair your defense system which could make things worse.

"If you're sick, I think it's best to take a day off from your workout and nurture your body back to good health. Look at it as a day off for your muscles to repair and recover themselves! If you can't avoid it, then try lighter workout routines and instead of heading to the gym stay home to avoid contaminating others."

Bruce Kelly
FT Media


"I think it depends on how "sick" you are. Certainly light, easy movement like walking or mobility work shouldn't be an issue. Remember when you're "sick" your immune system in weakened so you have to be careful not to exacerbate the situation."

Billy Beyer
FT Basking Ridge


"It of course depends on how sick you are and what kind of sick. If you have the common cold you can work out. But working out with a fever or stomach issues is not a good idea. Stay home before you get us all sick!"

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