You’re Sick: Should You Exercise?

exercisingwhensickThis year, cold and flu season started for my family in August. We all got colds, and I feel like I’ve had some version of it ever since. Gotta love the little ones bringing home as many germs as possible!

When you’re really sick, there is no question that you need to rest. But what if you’re just a little sick? Or feel like it’s on the horizon? Should you still head to the gym or take a break? Today, Life Fitness shares a few tips so you’ll know whether to sweat or skip it.

What to Know About Exercising When Sick

Do a neck-check. The standard to follow is called the “neck-check.” If your symptoms are above the neck, like a runny nose or sore throat, then you’re okay to exercise. Always listen to your body and take the intensity of your workout down a bit if your regular pace feels too strenuous.

If you are sick below the neck, take a break from exercise. If you have any symptoms below the neck, such as body aches, chills, stomach problems or diarrhea, take it easy until you are feeling better. If you’re running a fever, no matter what your symptoms are, put off exercising until your temperature returns to normal.

You can rev-up exercise when you’re run down. If you’re suffering from congestion or low energy, exercise may help you feel better. A brisk walk can unclog your sinuses better than an afternoon on the couch. And gentle exercise can rev up your circulation to counteract that sluggish, run-down feeling.

Don’t share your sniffles. When exercising in a public setting like a gym, consider your fellow exercisers and think about how contagious you might be before you make your decision to go. If you can’t get through a single set on a weight machine without sneezing or coughing, you are better off staying away from a public gym.

Be considerate of others and always wipe down exercise equipment after you use it; always remember to wash your hands after using hand weights and other fitness tools because many other hands have also touched them. Prevention is always the best medicine!

When you’re sick with the sniffles, do you take off from a workout or tough it out? —Erin


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