Working out when you’re sick: yes or no?

We’ve all been there – you’ve been doing so great with you exercise routine and haven’t missed a day in weeks then suddenly… you catch a cold. Should you skip your workout or hit the gym anyway?

My general rule of thumb when it comes to exercising while ill is – do what you can do, and if you can’t do something, don’t. Some people simply can’t get through a workout while their noses are dripping. Others, like me, feel worse when they stop exercising. So, if you are sick and want to work out, see what feels good. You know your body better than anyone else, so do what’s right for you. However, if you aren’t feeling 100%, you shouldn’t be doing the hardest workout of your life.

Not everyone responds the same to a workout. What was a super intense workout for one person may have been an easy day for another. So if you are choosing to workout with a cold, choose a low-moderate intensity workout for your fitness level. A moderate intensity workout should leave you feeling strong and energized, whereas a higher intensity workout should kick your ass. Opt for the moderate intensity workout when you are sick. Instead of sprints go for a jog, and if that jog still feels like too much take a brisk walk.

Another way to decide if working out is a good idea is by doing a “neck check”. If your symptoms are above your neck: congestion, sore throat, and watery eyes, it’s okay to workout. If your symptoms are below they neck: body aches, fever, fatigue and coughing, you should take a rest day.

Working out with a fever is a big no-no. That’s the one time you should really pause your exercise routine. Exercising will raise your body temperature, and doing that while already having an elevated temperature could potentially make you even sicker.

If you do decide to hit the gym while you’re under the weather, make sure to wash your hands constantly and be aware that the person next to you does not want to be coughed on during their cardio session. It’s great that you feel well enough to get a little sweat in, but be courteous of those around you!

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