Should You Work Out When You’re Feeling Sick?

Should You Work Out When You’re Feeling Sick?

The answer to this often-debated question is yes and no. Let’s answer differently whether you should work out when you’re sick. If you’re experiencing symptoms usually associated with a cold (or even seasonal allergies, for that matter), like sniffles, sore throat, and fatigue, it’s okay to take in a mild workout.

But should you “sweat out” a sickness resulting in diarrhea or a spiking fever with your life coach/personal trainer? The answer to that is an astounding NO. Expect your trainer to send you home so that you get back in bed and drink lots of fluids.

According to a new report by Healthline, the goal when you’re sick is a speedy recovery. But it can be challenging to know when it’s perfectly fine to power through your gym routine and when it’s better to take a day or two off.

Exercise is one of the most healthy habits you can develop. It’s normal to want to continue working out even when you do not feel like your body is operating at peak performance levels.

Exercise can be good for you under certain circumstances and a real problem in others. Many trainers advise you to consider the “above the neck rule” when working out while sick. In other words, if your symptoms are relegated only to an earache, sneezing, or a stuffy nose, it’s okay to get in a mild workout.

But if your symptoms exist below the neck, such as body aches, fever, diarrhea, a productive cough, nausea, chest congestion, and more, you will want to skip your workout until your sickness is gone.

When Exercise While Feeling Sick Safe

Getting in a workout while experiencing the following symptoms is considered okay; always check with your physician first:

A Mild Cold

According to Healthline, clinically speaking, a mild cold is a viral infection that affects the throat, nose, and head. While symptoms can vary from person to person, most people who get colds have a mild cough, headache, stuffy nose, and sneezing.

Considering the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, most people are still practicing caution when it comes to cold and flu-like symptoms. They usually go for a brisk walk outside or work out at home to avoid the gym, where germs are easily spread.

If you suddenly feel your energy level draining while working out with a cold, you need to either reduce the intensity of your workout or cut it short. Again, while working while experiencing a mild cold is OK, keep in mind you will spread germs to others.

I'd like for you to maintain some common sense when coming into contact with others. The last thing you want to do is get other, healthy people ill.

When Exercise While Feeling Sick is Not Safe

Maybe exercising while experiencing a mild cold is considered okay; here’s when working out is not recommended:

Spiking Fever

For obvious reasons, if you are experiencing frequent bouts of diarrhea or severe body aches and pain, that’s the body’s way of telling you to stay in bed until you are feeling better. But it can be dangerous to work out when you are experiencing a spiking fever a couple of degrees above the normal 98.6F.

Fever results in bad symptoms such as muscle pain, loss of appetite, weakness, and dizziness.

Working out can only exacerbate these symptoms to dangerous levels, especially if dehydration is involved.

If you have a fever, skip the gym and the workout altogether. Stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids until the sickness passes.

Remember, one of the benefits of staying in shape is that you not only get sick more infrequently, but when you do inevitably become ill with a virus, it usually goes away much quicker than it will for someone who is out of shape.

Mary Clark currently a certified personal trainer from NASM. Today she devotes herself to helping others achieve their life goals through physical fitness, an optimal mindset, and life balance.

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