Should You Work Out When You’re Feeling Sick?

The answer to this often-debated question is yes and no. That said, let’s answer the question of whether or not you should work out when you’re sick a different way. 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 that’s resulting in diarrhea or a spiking fever with your life coach/personal trainer? The answer to that is a r esounding NO. In fact, 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 difficult to know when it’s perfectly fine to power through your routine gym routine and when it’s a better decision 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 to work out even when you’re not feeling like your body is operating at peak performance levels.

Exercise can be good for you under certain circumstances and a real problem during others. Many trainers will advise you to consider the “above the neck rule” when it comes to 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

Says 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 will usually opt to go for a brisk walk outside, or workout at home to avoid the gym where germs are easily spread.

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

Maintain some common sense when coming into contact with others. The last thing you want to do is get other, more 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 when you are experiencing a spiking fever a couple of degrees above the normal 98.6F, it can be dangerous to workout.

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.

Keep in mind, one of the benefits to 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 is a recently retired and decorated Colonel in the New York State Troopers. One of the highest-ranking female law enforcement officials in New York State, she served for more than three decades. Today she devotes herself to helping others achieve their life goals through a combination of physical fitness, achieving an optimal mindset, and life balance.

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