One of the most commonly asked questions I get (especially in the winter months) Should I exercise while sick? Or should I take a rest day?”

No one likes to be sick and when you have been working hard towards a goal it is super hard to back down. Check out my Coffee Chat this week as I chat all about this. So many people in our community have been or are down with an illness this week.

I write about illness and exercise not just from my 20 years in the fitness & wellness industry but also from my own personal experiences and mistakes. 

I get it! I really do! You are on a roll. You are even enjoying it. AND then it happens. A little soreness in your throat (“it’s just because I am tired and had a busy week”). Next, your head starts to pound. (‘Maybe I didn’t drink enough water today’). The next morning you wake up feeling like a truck hit you while you were sleeping. You are trying to decide if you should work out or not? 

Sound familiar or something similar? When illness strikes it can be a common head cold to a full-blown sinus infection or anything in between.

 

To workout or not to workout?

That is the question that I’m sure Hamlet actually meant to ask. Should you exercise while sick? Like everything, there are many shades of GREY when feeling under the weather. 

My rule of thumb is if your illness is above your neck, do it but take the intensity down a little. If your illness is below your neck, take the rest. 

Use your best judgment when implementing any one of these pieces of advice.

Here are some tips to remember: 

  • Take it easier, keep the intensity right down.
  • Remember to hydrate.
  • Check yourself. ‘I start for 10 minutes and if I feel better, I continue for another 10 minutes. If I feel worse, I stop.’
  • Sweat it out!
  • It depends on your symptoms. If the cold is affecting your breathing, then don’t do it.
  • Symptoms above the head, yes but modify. Symptoms below the head (ie. congested chest) don’t do it.
  • Ask yourself if this one workout is really important to your overall goals. If not, rest up!
  • If it is going to take the fun out of your workout then don’t do it.
  • Try something lower impact: Pilates Infusion or Active8 in our Online LIVE Interactive Group classes gives you a great workout without the impact or cardio. 

 

KEEP in MIND! 

A few days in bed rugged up won’t harm your fitness levels.

Ask yourself what’s to gain? If it’s for a specific session in your plan, then you probably won’t hit those targets anyway. It’ll be a wasted session. Your body needs to heal.

Let your body rest.

Do not exercise with a fever, diarrhea or vomiting 

Start back slowly after you feel better. Keep the cardio down if your illness was in your lungs. 

Illnesses will happen. Be prepared. Focus on your food and mindset while allowing your body to rest and recover. Hydrate and get back into your exercise once you are feeling better. 

To Your Success, 

Lindsay