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Should You Workout while Sick

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Bodybuilding and Fitness Newsletter 5/27/2020

Working Out While Sick - Good Idea?

Many people are not sure if the should be working out while sick.  Working out while sick can be a good thing, or a horrible decision.  Exercise in general is hands down one of the best things you can do to strengthen your immune system.  However depending on what you may be dealing with, working out  while sick may end up making you worse if you are pushing yourself too hard. I have been lucky enough this year to avoid getting sick (knock on wood).  But I also know a lot of people who are dealing with some pretty nasty stuff right now. I do have to say that I am in the camp of doing some sort of exercise while you are sick.  But there are limits and strategies you can use to make sure you are not pushing your body past its limits and slowing down recovery. So lets get into the workout options you have and how to identify if you should be working out while sick.

Working Out While Sick Option #1

Stop working out.  Most doctors will tell you to listen to your body to determine if you should be working out while your sick, makes sense to me.  Your body is the chief in charge of everything and will tell you when you should not be working out while sick.  With that in mind, if you are battling a nasty flu for example, I highly doubt your body would be telling you to go run a few miles.  But, at the same time doing moderate stretching while you are battling a flu could help you feel better and help you recover a little quicker.  So your first option of working out while sick is to stop working out all together until your body give you the signal that you might be ready.  If you are battling the flu or something worse, it will do your body better if you rest and recover.

Working Out While Sick Option #2

Modify your workout routine.  Doctors will also tell you that working out while sick comes down to the neck rule.  If you have symptoms above your neck, stuffed nose, sore throat, etc then it is generally safe to workout.  They will also tell you if your symptoms are below your neck, chest congestion for example, that you should not be working out while sick.  This is a valid rule in my book, so listen to your body and if you have below the neck symptoms, only do stretching at the most.  If you are dealing with a plugged up nose for example, I would say workout out for sure but not at 100%, more like 70-80%.  Working out while sick can reduce the duration of a head cold, and make you feel better from the endorphines that are released when we workout.

Working Out While Sick Option #3

Do nothing.  If you are just starting to get symptoms of getting sick, I would say do not alter your workout regimen at all.  hopefully by sticking with it, hydrating yourself, and taking some supplements your immune system will kick it out of your system before it starts.  One little trick I do often actually is if I start feeling like I am getting sick I gargle with salt water multiple times during the day.  Every time I do that I seem to not get sick.

To wrap this post up, you have three options of working out while sick.  You can stop working out while sick, you can modify and workout at about 70-80% of your normal intensity if you have above the neck symptoms, and finally if you feel like you are getting sick stick with your normal workout regimen and add in some supplements and salt water gargling.  Obviously check with your doctor on all accounts, and listen to your body before working out while sick.

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