Can I (really) exercise when I’m sick?

Time away from exercise and activities due to being sick can be frustrating, especially if you’ve been making good progress.

However, it’s important to give your body the time it needs to fight off an illness, especially as intense exercise can add stress to your system at a time when it’s already overloaded with trying to restore health. But, that’s not to say you can’t be active.

(Errmm, if you’re really struggling to stay away from gym – maybe you’re an exercise addict?)

Lets start with the very important info first, it is unwise to train while on antibiotics or other medications prescribed to cure your illness, even if your symptoms are gone.

But can I still exercise?

It’s important to reduce your intensity and duration, in certain circumstances. The general rule of thumb is commonly known as the ‘neck rule’. This ‘rule’ suggests that when symptoms present above your neck then it is generally safe to proceed, but it’s still best to do so with caution. If, on the other hand, however, the symptoms have spread to below your neck – to the lungs and body – then you need to lay off exercise in all its forms.

Other caveats to the rule are the presence of an elevated body temperature or fever, general lethargy and body aches, and any pre-existing illness that may exacerbate your condition. Fevers are usually indicative of a virus, which can affect your heart and lead to serious complications, especially if you train intensely while ill.

It is also unwise to train while still on antibiotics or other medications prescribed to cure your illness, even if your symptoms are gone.

Do not exercise if your symptoms include:

  • Chest congestion
  • Coughing and/or wheezing
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • General fatigue

it’s important to give your body the time it needs to fight off an illness, especially as intense exercise can add stress to your system at a time when it’s already overloaded with trying to restore health.

Maybe you should try boost your immune system…

Author: Tanja Schmitz

Co-Publisher at Maverick Media and until recently, Fitness Magazine editor. Tanja now manages multiple digital platforms, consults and create exciting campaigns and opportunities in the fitness industry. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.

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