You’re Sick. To Exercise or to Not Exercise?
Feeling drained and under the weather? Do you have the sniffles or a nasty cold? Wondering if you should just skip the day at the gym? Before making that move to stay home in bed, consider that the benefits of light, easy exercise may make you feel better.
Here’s my guide to exercising while sick.
Should You, or Shouldn’t You Exercise?
The rule of thumb is if you’re feeling symptoms from the neck up (stuffy nose, mild drainage, etc) without a fever, it’s safe to exercise, lightly. You’re not aiming for anything strenuous because you need energy to heal your body. Keep it safe, light, and easy.
Anything above a low-grade fever (100.5), chest congestion, or feeling below par (weakness, nausea, stomach upset) it’s best to stay at home and let your body recover. Exercising could make things worse.
So if you’re part of the first group of people and you feel strong enough to workout, consider the following.
Take it outside
If you feel well enough to get your muscles moving, take it outside for a light, moderate walk over hitting the treadmill. A little fresh air with your walk may help you feel better. Your gym mates will also be thanking you for keeping those sniffles away.
Try light band resistance training
Since your body isn’t as strong as it usually it, don’t do anything strenuous that may cause injury. Try just enough resistance to engage your muscles for a light workout. Resistance bands are the perfect solution. Plus, you avoid any risk of accidentally dropping a free weight and injuring yourself.
Stretch, stretch, stretch!
Stretching is a great way to keep your body limber and your muscles stretched. This may help with excess aches and pains while you’re not feeling your best.
A little light yoga may also help your body detoxify. You’ll also find yourself in a happier place mentally, which may make you feel stronger. Yoga is a great source for centering your energy.
Hit the dry sauna!
This may sound a bit untraditional, however, the sauna is a great source to sweat out toxins, clear out congestion, aid in loosening up your muscles, and burn some extra calories. NO impact going on here, but since your heart rate is increasing, you are burning extra calories. The benefits, however, are more internal. 20 minutes in can do your body good!
Remember, there’s a difference between feeling under the weather, being contagious, and running a fever over 100.5. Bedrest may be the best solution. Knowing your body, and when to take a break will help guide you through exercising while sick. Furthermore, keeping yourself fueled with a healthy, balanced diet, regular exercise, and 8 hours of sleep will keep your body in the best possible position to avoid ailments that may keep you from exercising.
Always consult a physician if you have questions or concerns.
Tim McComsey is the founding owner of TRYM Fitness: Dallas’s Premier Personal Training and Nutrition Company, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Dietitian. He started TRYM Fitness in 2011 and has been growing successfully ever since! This is his 15th year in the fitness industry and his scope of work has broadened from being ambassador to Sunwarrior, a partner to Vitamin World, and a sponsored athlete to 361usa shoes and apparel. He also contributes to Men’s Fitness Magazine and Human Fit Project with video and content production. Through his years in the industry he has placed 1st in several fitness competitions including the 2013 Dallas Europa Men’s Physique. His passion is to empower both men and women to be the healthiest and most fit they can be using various platforms.