How to Stay in the Game When You're Under the Weather

By , Amanda Young, Acacia TV Contributor
You wake up feeling a bit less than your best: Achy, fatigued, sniffly nose--the works. Yep, seems like you're getting sick (ugh!). But you've got a workout already planned for today, and you took a rest day yesterday. Should you push through your planned workout or take it easy?
When you're sick and are debating a workout, the first general rule of thumb is simple. When you're deciding whether to head to the gym or stay home and cozy up to that bottle of DayQuil, consider "the neck rule" first. If your symptoms are exhibited above the neck (i.e. runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, scratchy throat), then it is safe for you to head to the gym (but bring some tissues!). If your symptoms fall below your neck (i.e. chest congestion, coughing, or if you have a fever and are taking medications to control your symptoms), you might want to use that gym bag as a pillow instead. Having to press pause on your weekly workout routine can be a motivation killer, but a fully functioning body is your best weapon to stay healthy and fit. 
I’ve passed your neck-up rule. Now what?
Well then, let’s talk about that HIIT class you wanted to try. While low to moderate exercise can have beneficial effects on cold symptoms, any type of high intensity workout could send your body into overdrive and take you out of the game for good. As excited as you were about rocking the front row in class, you might just have to find a way to do a shorter duration and lower intensity workout. You can still bring yourself into the studio and take a fun, lower-intensity class which can help you relieve some stress.
What other options do I have?
Some other good exercises can include walking, or even jogging if you are an avid runner, as it helps to open up nasal passages. Mindful movement classes such as yoga or stretching can help increase cortisol levels and relieve some aches and pains. You might even want to take a ride on the recumbent bike, but be sure to wipe it down so the next person doesn’t end up missing out on their favorite class after catching your germs! (Don’t be that person, okay?)
If the weather is nice, outdoor workouts are acceptable, but if your springtime weather still involves a down jacket, stay away from the cold and move your workout indoors, as cold air restricts your airways.
Is there anything I should avoid?
Steer clear of long endurance runs for now. There is no marathon happening for you if you push your body to go on your long run. You might be running yourself straight back to bed for the long haul!
You’re also not competing to be Mr. or Mrs. Olympia today, either. Heavy weight-lifting is a no-go. While lifting for repetitions can be manageable, trying to deadlift that 250lb one repetition maximum weight is not happening.
The bottom line: Stick to what your body knows. Don’t go out and try to do something completely new, as you don’t want to shock your body. Think of your illness as a good opportunity to work on other exercises you wouldn't normally devote as much time to (i.e. simple balance exercises or stretching). Your goal is to do movement that improve circulation, and if getting to the gym isn’t happening, you can even find yourself a lower-intensity workout on your favorite streaming digital channel and stay active in the comfort of your home. Most importantly, remember to stay hydrated!
Amanda Young is AcaciaTV’s cardio instructor and has been a group fitness instructor and social worker for over 15 years. She holds several fitness (ACE) and training certifications, teaches at Equinox, and consults for fitness companies such as Reebok, Shape Up NYC and Lululemon.

AcaciaTV is a leading subscription-based streaming fitness service easily accessible on a variety of platforms/devices. Members have complete access to more than 100 workouts in a diverse range of disciplines which they can stream anywhere at any time. AcaciaTV now features new themed 20-minute workouts each month from trainers Kristin McGeeAmanda YoungDeazie GibsonGerren Liles and Liz LeFrois. Consumers can visit Acacia TV at US.Acacia.TV and easily try out the service with its 10-day free trial. The channel is for all fitness levels, offering workouts from beginners through advanced. Subscription to the service includes access to AcaciaTV’s Facebook fitness community which offers additional support and a group forum for all members.SparkPeople members can receive 25% off any membership for a year with the code ACACIASPARK. 

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ROBBIEY 6/8/2021
good advice Report
Thanks! Report
NEPTUNE1939 6/25/2020
ty Report
CECELW 6/25/2020
summer colds are horrible! Report
LISAMARIE2015 6/25/2020
😁 Report
Woke up this morning with a sore throat and headache so no workout at the gym for me. Maybe a short walk later in the day. That will be it. I don't want to spread this around. Report
Good tips Report
Biggest problem... stay home with your germs! Report
Helpful advice. Report
great Report
Gonna have to agree with everyone saying stay home. If you're sick, take care of yourself and don't spread germs. No workout is that important. Report
If you're sick with a cold or flu, stay home. The gym is a breeding ground. No one wants your cold ir flu. If you need to workout then workout at home Report
I'm of the opinion that if you have a cold, stay home. Dont go to work...dont go to the gym....NO ONE wants it!! And using an antibacterial wipe to wipe down a machine is not going to kill the virus you're spreading. Report
Thanks. Report
Great article Report
I think it would have been a great start IF the people I was "forced to share" the gym with at time had remembered to clean OFF the equipment !! Report
nice ideas Report
Great ideas. Report
Great article Report
Thanks for sharing. Good info! Report
Thanks for sharing this info. Report
I needed to read this today. Report
Good info! Report
Sniffly people need to stay out of the gym, for heaven's sakes! It's not ok to go there, I sure don't want someone snotting around at my gym. The beginnngs of a cold is also when you are most contagious! Stay home, prance around at home. Report
If you're contagious and going to the gym, PLEASE be mindful to not spread it to others. If you're coughing, stay home. If you have a runny nose, after wiping it, wash your hands before touching anything. For a lot of families, a cold isn't just an inconvenience, it's a possible death sentence for a loved one if it's passed on to an elderly family member or someone being treated for cancer. Please be kind and considerate and not pass your cold onto others. Report
I tend to get a lot of allergies and things that lower my immune system. Exercise usually helps all my symptoms and is a kind of light, natural therapy for me in most scenarios. Don't usually do running, jogging, heavy weightlifting strenuous workouts - more low impact, gardening,yardwork, walking. Sometimes I can exercise while not feeling well and feel better till I stop. I can stop if feverish, but fever is really unusual for me.
Actually a workout with someone with a sense of humor, and music are wonderful, too. Report
I've learned (the hard way) that if I have a cold of any kind, strenuous exercise is out of the question. That drives the cold in farther and takes me longer to recover. Stretching and light strength training are the only things I can do. Report
I spent last Sunday down with a stomach bug. I only just yesterday got back to an intense workout! I was able to go walking Monday-Wednesday, though. I'm feeling a bit "off" again today, so maybe I still need a little more of this easier stuff. Report
I had a head cold last week - runny nose, sore throat - I worked out through it. I alternated elliptical and treadmill for three days. The first ten minutes or so of each workout was rough, but then I felt I could breathe better. I really believe working out helped me get over my cold much quicker. I'm thankful I could keep to my routine. Report