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Should You Workout If Your Sick?

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We all know that getting sick sucks. But besides infecting everyone at the gym, is there a real reason to not workout if you are feeling under the weather? Yes, and no!

If you feel like you are coming down with just a cold, exercise could actually help your body fight off the infection. For instance, if you have a runny nose, dry cough or some occasional sneezing, you are good to go! Sweating it out may help you get over it faster, and it will also build up your immune system.  If you start feeling worse after you workout, you should take a few days off or reduce the intensity of your workouts. For example, instead of sprints for 15 minutes, you could walk or jog.

However, if you have a fever, stomach issues or symptoms of the flu, STAY AT HOME. Your body is clearly showing signs of fatigue in these instances, working out will make it worse. Giving yourself a couple days off will allow your immune system the chance to recover. Make sure to hydrate your body and get a lot of sleep.

Now, you are not sick anymore, but your body is still recovering. When should you return to the gym? There is no real answer to this, just when you feel up up to it. Make sure you continue to listen to your body; it knows how much it can handle.  Your body may take three weeks to recover from the flu. Your first couple days back at the gym, do not give it 100%. Start at 25%, or 50% (for both cardio and weights) and increase over the next couple weeks. If you go all in your first couple days back, you will delay the recovery process.

In summary, workout if it’s just a common cold (as long as you feel up to it and you don’t get worse). Do not workout if you have a more serious illness like the flu, an upper respiratory infection, etc. Give your body the time it needs to recover!