Should I workout when I’m sick?

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Should you workout when sick? Well, this all depends. How sick are you? What are your symptoms? Do you just have the sniffles but loads of energy? Or, do you have chest congestion and feel weak and shaky all over?

You have to consider how bad you feel, and where your symptoms are. Doctors typically say if the symptoms are in the throat or head, working out is USUALLY fine. If they are below the neck, don’t workout. If you have a fever, you probably shouldn’t workout. If you have body aches and feel weak, you probably shouldn’t workout. Only you can judge just how bad you feel.

Of course you have a workout plan, and maybe even a specific schedule of what you have to do when. If you don’t follow it to a “T” you may feel like a failure. But consider this, if you push yourself to workout when you feel like your body isn’t up to the task what might happen? Could you make the situation worse? Say you have a little chest congestion and are coughing up a little crud, then you go run 10 hard miles and it turns that little bit of congestion into full blown pneumonia. Then you’ve just taken 1-2 days of rest and turned them into a week or more of forced rest.

So, for me, the determining factor for deciding if I should workout when I’m sick is asking myself “If I do this workout, could it possibly make me feel even worse?” If I’m not sure then I rate my symptoms from “just kinda yucky” to “feeling like death”. If I’m at the bottom of I just feel a little bit bad but it goes away as I get around for the day then I will usually workout but do something lighter/easier. I’f I’m in the middle or top end of “feeling like death” then I concede and take the rest day or maybe two just to be safe. If working out lighter/easier made things worse, then I definitely take the next day off (maybe two) and go easy when I workout next.

I would much rather take a couple of extra rest days than end up sicker and needing even more time off than I would have if I’d just listened to my body’s signals to start with. Part of being fit and healthy is learning to listen to your body and REST when it is saying it needs it. If you don’t listen to the quiet symptoms, your body WILL scream at you and it usually isn’t pleasant! So treat it kindly.

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