ExerciseSickI am often asked my thoughts on working out while experiencing sickness. A sore throat, achy muscles, fever, nausea, and a runny nose can make you miserable, but if you still have the energy to exercise, should you? Aside from being contagious to everyone else around you, what’s the real danger? The good news is that if you are currently a fit person, you will tend to recover from illnesses quicker and experience milder symptoms than those who are inactive.

If you feel as if you’re coming down with a garden-variety cold, you can still exercise without significant limitations. If you begin to feel worse after your workout, however, cut back. Take a few days off or reduce your effort to 50 percent of your normal capacity; walk for 15 minutes instead of running for 30 minutes, do one set of lifting instead of five. Also keep in mind the above-the-neck rule: if your symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough, or sneezing, you should be fine to exercise. Rest if your symptoms are below the neck, such a chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc.

Does it help to “sweat out” a fever? Stay home if you have a fever, stomach symptoms or the flu. If you’re wiped out with fatigue there’s no reason to work out, as working out would increase your fatigue. Plus, you’re contagious the first five to seven days. Rest allows your immune system to recover. Get to bed early and get extra sleep, drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol), and incorporate immune supporting essential oils, such as Thieves, or head and body ache reducing oils, such as Peppermint, into your recovery plan.

Listen to your body in regards to when you should start exercising fully again. Colds typically last for a week to 10 days but it may take you two to three weeks to recover from the flu, depending on the severity. Don’t go 100 percent the first three or four days. Start at 75 percent of your normal workout (for both cardio and weights) and increase gradually for the first week or so. If you try to go back too soon you may have a prolonged recovery phase. You may also be more short of breath if you’re recovering from an upper respiratory infection.

Remember, if you are ever questioning whether or not you should exercise while sick, always side with caution and either don’t altogether, or move at a slow and measured pace. Safety first.

About the Author

Christopher Kazda is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Chiropractic Technician at New Beginnings Chiropractic, 1861 Business Hwy 18/151, Mount Horeb, WI 53572. He is available Monday through Saturday to help you reach your fitness goals.

Please call 715-302-2153 or 608-437-9990, email at kazdakinetics@gmail.com, or visit www.newbeginningschiropractic.net, for more information or to schedule an appointment.