FAQ021: Should I work out if I'm sick?

I’m sick – do I still work out?

It’s flu season and one of the questions I always get asked is when is it or isn’t it okay to work out. When you are fighting a cold or the flu, our body needs to use all of its resources to recover. Exercise can make us feel better but is it doing more harm than good?

Exercise and the Immune System

If we are working out at a high intensity, there is a brief period of time after the workout that your immune system is lower. This is completely normal. But when you have the flu, you need all of the immune system function you can get!

We like to use the “above the neck rule”

If the symptoms you have from your illness are above the neck, you should be okay to be working out. These can include things like runny noses and a sore throat. If you have symptoms that are full body like a fever or muscle chills, it is probably better that you get to bed early for some extra sleep so that you are ready to face the day tomorrow.

Remember, if you ARE going to work out. Don’t go too hard! Your body is fighting something. Take it at a low or moderate intensity. Your body will feel better after, not more beat up. Once your flu has passed, go back at it with more zest!

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Check out some of our other articles like a breath of fresh air, using exercise to help with COPD.

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Christina Prevett

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