Is it OK to Exercise When You're Sick?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
When temperatures begin to dip, it isn't too unusual to see a rise in the number of people walking around with the sniffles and the dreaded runny nose. Much of this has to do with the colder temperatures outside while the warm, dry air inside becomes a breeding ground for these viruses.

It is important to note that a cold is not the flu. While colds and the flu are both caused from viruses and can share common symptoms, colds tend to have milder symptoms, such as a runny nose, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention colds generally do not result in other health related issues such as pneumonia.

Flu on the other hand, can be quite contagious, lead to fever, aches and pains, chills, upper respiratory symptoms, a cough and other more serious health related risks such as pneumonia, which may or may not require hospitalization.

Many health experts advise one to continue an exercise regimen at a moderate pace but avoid doing any high intensity workouts if you have a cold, however, now is not the time push your body into some high intensity activity.

So when is it OK to keep on exercising if you are under the weather?

  • You do not have a fever.
  • Your symptoms are limited to the head only, in other words you are only experiencing symptoms above the neck, for example you have a runny or congested nose.
  • You have no other signs or symptoms.

    However if you have the following symptoms, it is best to wait until you are feeling better to get back to your routine.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Lethargy or aches and pains
  • Swollen glands

    While being sick is difficult, especially if you are well into the routine of working out or trying to meet a goal, know that illness and exercise are both stressors on the body. Pushing yourself too hard and not allowing proper recovery may only prolong your illness or worsen your symptoms. Remember living a healthy lifestyle is a life-long journey so missing a few days or weeks will not undo all your hard work. Allow time for your body to recover and know that you will be back to your routine sooner than later, if you give enough time for your body to heal.

    Have you had a cold or flu this season? If yes, did it keep you from working out? Have you received the seasonal flu shot this year?

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