ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should You Exercise While Sick?

Updated on July 13, 2011

Should you exercise when you are sick?  That depends on how you feel and what the illness is.  Assuming we are referring to the regular run-of-the-mill cold and flu or the usual ailments that plague us time and again during our lives, then it depends on the severity of your symptoms.

When you are sick, your body is placed under stress as your immune system attempts to fight off the infection.  By continuing to exercise, you are further burdening the body with induced stress.  Depending on how sick you are, the level of stress imposed upon your body may rise above your body’s ability to cope. 

If you have been exercising regularly, it can be difficult to forsake your regular workout routine and stay in bed.  Common concerns that arise from breaking the schedule are the difficulties of getting back into routine and the possible decline in form while sitting out on the bench (or rather lying in bed).  While there are times when it is okay to continue exercising even if you are sick, there are times when it is wiser to rest than to soldier on.

So when do you need to rest and when can you continue exercising?  Here are some general guidelines recommended by the health professionals:

4. Know your limits.

If you feel the need to exercise but aren’t up to your regular routine, tone it down.  Instead of running your usual five kilometres, consider walking for a shorter distance instead.  If your regular aerobics class is too high intensity, consider taking a more relaxing yoga or pilates class.

2. The presence or absence of fever.

The presence of fever is a definite reason to skip the workout.  When you have a fever, your internal body temperature is already raised above the normal level.  If you exercise, it further increases your internal body temperature which can make you feel worse. 

The recommendation is that if your fever is above 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celcius), then you should not exercise.

1. The “above the neck/below the neck” rule.

This is a commonly recommended method for assessing if you are fit to hit the gym or take a run around the block.  Generally if all you have are symptoms that are “above the neck”, such as a runny nose or a sore throat, then it is okay to continue exercising.  However, it is important to take your intensity down a notch or two.  Don’t expect to continue exercising to the level that you would if you were well. 

If your symptoms are “below the neck” - for instance, if you have chest congestion or body aches - then it might be better to rest a day or two.  You can resume your workout gradually as you begin to feel better.

3. Listen to your body.

Some people who have been exercising regular may feel worse if they stop exercising altogether.  If working out makes you feel better then do so.  Just don’t try to break any records exercising while you’re sick.

If you feel worse during the exercise or if your symptoms worsen after working out, your body is telling you that you need to take a break for a while and rest.

5. Exercise intensity.

In general, exercise of about 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week, does improve the body’s immunity by raising the levels of T-cells, one of the body’s first lines of defence against infection.  However, intense exercise programs similar to those performed by training athletes can have the opposite effect and lower immunity.  This is why it is important not to push yourself too hard if you exercise while sick.

6. Time out.

Be aware that even something as minor as the flu can put you out of commission for as many as 10 days to two weeks.  Don’t try to rush back to your exercise routine or you could end up prolonging your time out and further delaying your return to your regular exercise program.

7. Gym etiquette.

An additional consideration to take into account if you do decide to exercise is that of the other people working out around you. Even if you feel well enough to continue exercising, be aware that you may be contagious and can possibly pass on your infection to other people working out at your gym.

If you exercise at a gym, bring a towel and use it to cover the surfaces that you touch. Wash your hands frequently and make sure you aren’t constantly blowing your nose, or coughing. You may also want to consider swapping your regular gym routine for a more isolated activity that minimises your contact with other people.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • webgain profile image

      webgain 

      7 years ago from Delhi, India

      i got this useful but in my opinion we must exercise while sick but a bit.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)