Is It Okay to Exercise When Sick?

2a5355a2e6be2580ebe4a5b3cf7819e4dc90ccc7_fotolia_76369349_subscription_monthly_mIt’s a popular question we ask ourselves whenever we come down with something, “Can I exercise when I’m not feeling well?”

There are many myths about working out while sick, but not everything you’ve heard is untrue. Some fear that taking time off from the gym will lead to weight gain, others fear a day or two off from working out will cause them to lose the momentum they’ve worked so hard to gain and others think they can sweat out their illness if they exercise vigorously.

While exercise is a great way to strengthen your immune system and fight off illness, it’s not always a best practice once you become sick.

Use the symptom guide below to help you determine whether or not it’s okay to hit the gym today.

Light to moderate exercise may be okay if you have the following symptoms:

1. Sneezing

2. Light Sinus Pressure

3. Stuffy or runny nose

4. Sore throat

5. Ear ache

Skip the gym if you have the following symptoms:

1. Muscle Aches

2. Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness

3. Fever

4. Vomiting

5. Diarrhea

The symptoms above share a pattern which you can use to help you determine when to work out when sick. “If your symptoms are above the neck, it is typically okay to exercise. If your symptoms are below the neck, you should probably consider taking advantage of that rest day,” according to Jennifer Bayliss a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and fitness expert and coach at Every Day Health.
According to Bayliss, you can keep to your normal routine if you feel up to it, “some people feel better when they get in a good sweat,” but if your symptoms are getting the best of you try yoga or a walk instead of a run. “Decreasing the intensity of your workouts makes breathing during the workout easier and is less taxing on your immune system,” says Bayliss.

Going to the Gym When Sick

We all hate getting sick, but we often don’t do our best to prevent others from getting ill. It’s easy to spread germs at a gym, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. There are plenty of ways to workout at home or out of the gym. Download a new workout video, or get a workout for free by watching a YouTube video. Take a walk around the park or your neighborhood.
If you just can’t help yourself, and must hit the gym make sure to be considerate of others by washing your hands before and after your workout. Wipe down equipment after use to help others from catching your cold.
When it comes to exercising when sick, listen to your body. If you’re not feeling up to working out you probably shouldn’t. Take a day or two to rest and recover. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any new workout routine, but it’s also helpful to consult with them about what you’re able to do physically when ill.

At Dayton Dandes Medical Center we believe in treating the patient, not just the disease. Our integrative and holistic approach to medicine provides our patients with complete care.Contact us to schedule your appointment today.
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References

Everydayfitness.com: “Everyday Rules for Exercising When Sick”

The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.