SHOULD YOU WORK OUT WHEN YOU ARE SICK?
There’s no right or wrong answer. But if you decide to work out, there are several things to keep in mind.
When to Rest or Exercise When Sick
Determining whether it's okay to exercise ultimately depends on how you feel. If you're not sure if you should lace up your sneakers, check with a doctor. One simple way to decide is to map out your symptoms: Are they from the neck up or the neck down?1
It's usually okay to exercise when symptoms above the neck include:
It's usually best to skip a workout when symptoms include:
Definitely do not work out when your symptoms include:*
If you've experienced these symptoms, it's best to wait two to four weeks before resuming intensive training.3
Listen to Your Body
If you feel run down and need the rest, take it. A few skipped days won't drastically decrease performance.4 However, if you do go to the gym, keep these things in mind:
- A workout while sick should generally be lower intensity and shorter in duration than normal1
- If you choose to exercise, now is not the time to run a new personal record or lift heavier
- Once you start to feel better, gradually bump up exercise intensity
If you have any remaining questions, please contact your health care provider.
1. “Fitness.” Exercise and Illness: Work out with a Cold? Web. 18 Sept. 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20058494
2. Martin, S. A., Pence, B. D., & Woods, J. A. (n.d.). Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections. Retrieved February 16, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803113
3. ACSM Current Comment. “Exercise and the Common Cold” Web. 18 Sept. 2015. https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseandcommoncold.pdf
4. “A 2-wk Reduction of Ambulatory Activity Attenuates Peripheral Insulin Sensitivity.” ARTICLES. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. http://jap.physiology.org/content/108/5/1034
5. “Cover Your Cough.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.14 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/covercough.htm
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