When It’s Okay to Work Out While You’re Sick, and When You Shouldn’t
Common sense suggests you shouldn’t work out when you’re not feeling well, but there are a few exceptions. If you’re worried your illness is taking you off track of your fitness goals, here’s what you need to know.
As most coaches and doctors will tell you (and as youtuber PictureFit explains in this video), the general rule of thumb is the “above or below the neck check.” If you have symptoms above the neck, like coughing, sneezing, sore throat, or nasal congestion, you can probably still work out. These symptoms don’t indicate anything too serious—most often allergies or a minor cold—so if you feel up to working out it’s probably fine to do so.
But if you have symptoms below the neck, it’s best to take a rest day. Those include fever, fatigue and body aches—so if you have COVID or the flu, you should probably take some time off. The same goes for symptoms like vomiting, or even a phlegmy cough because that’s caused by chest congestion.
There’s another potential concern with COVID and, some doctors argue, with viral illnesses in general. Exercising while you have these conditions may increase the chances of developing inflammation of the heart. It’s unclear how common this inflammation is, or how serious it might be, but you may want to play it extra safe until we know more.
In any case, if you feel like you need rest, don’t push yourself. It’s better to miss a few workouts than prolong your illness and miss a bunch of them.
If you decide to work out anyway, take it easy. Hard workouts require a lot of recovery, which we usually think of in terms of food and sleep, but those bodily functions now have to fuel your recovery from the workout and your recovery from illness. So you may want to reduce the intensity and/or the length of your workout. If you’re lifting, go for an easy set of five or 10 instead of testing a one-rep-max. If you’re running, do an easy run instead of hill sprints or a long distance run.
While you’re at it, be sure to stay hydrated and monitor how you’re feeling. If at any time your symptoms get worse, stop and go rest. Lastly, and most importantly, don’t go to the gym or anywhere else where people can come in contact with your germs. Just because you want to work out doesn’t mean other people want to get sick.
This article was originally posted in 2016 by Patrick Allan and was updated in October 2020 by Beth Skwarecki to clarify the recommendations and to include some information specific to COVID-19.
The following article was originally published at following source – Source link