Everytime I get sick I always end up asking myself, is it ok to workout while sick? Since there are multiple forms of illnesses, we will cover a wide variety of symptoms to check before working out.
Let’s talk about getting sick. If you are reading this article, it is probably because you are already sick. However, it is important to remember for next time what not to do in order to keep yourself healthy.
- Wash your hands often – This might seem obvious, but it works
- Touch your face as little as possible
- Don’t drink alcohol in excess – Alcohol lowers your immune
- Avoid places where people are known to get sick
- Clean surfaces at home with disinfectant wipes
Ok, it seems pretty straightforward, right? You would be surprised at how many people don’t do any of these and wonder why they are sick all the time.
Now that we have prevention out of the way, let’s talk about if it is ok to workout while sick.
Do not go to the gym if you are sick!
Wait, why are you reading an article about working out while sick if you can’t go to the gym.
Let’s get this out of the way. Going to the gym while sick is completely unethical. You risk exposing many people to your sickness, which in turn might expose someone close to them. They might be high risk individuals, so it’s just not the right thing to do.
Luckily, I wrote an article about 15 workouts to build muscle at home with no weights. There you go! You don’t even have to worry about going to the gym. You can still get shredded right where you are.
If doing just bodyweight exercises isn’t your thing, we highly recommend checking out our list of best exercise equipment on Amazon. We have everything from medicine balls to squat racks. You won’t find yourself needing anything. You can literally build your own home gym if that is what you desire.
With that being said, is it ok to workout while sick?
Should you workout with a cold?
This is one of the easiest illnesses to give a definitive answer for. Most colds are what the Mayo Clinic would call “above the neck.” This is essentially an illness that is mostly in your sinuses and head.
Assuming that you don’t have a fever or any symptoms coursing through your body, then you are ok to workout here. Just make sure you take breaks, and make sure you are breathing plenty.
It is ok to pace yourself a little bit here. You don’t have to push yourself as hard as you normally do in the gym. A little bit of sweat will help your cold along, but it shouldn’t be so bad that you are getting light headed and questioning your decisions.
Should you workout with the flu?
This is when things get a little bit interesting. The flu affects people differently, so whether or not you should go to the gym is a question that will vary from person to person.
It is OK to workout with the following symptoms: sore throat, stuffy nose, headache, cough, or fatigue.
It is NOT OK to workout with the following symptoms: fever, difficulty breathing, or body aches (muscle pain).
I know that having the flu absolutely sucks, and symptoms can definitely come and go. That is why it is important to monitor your body here. Before you even think about working out, do a quick audit on your body and decide which symptoms you are experiencing.
Your heart rate increases while working out, which means your body temp also increases. That is why it is a terrible idea to workout if you have a fever. Having difficulty breathing is another sign that your workout will not benefit you.
Listen to your body and make the right decision for your circumstances.
Should you workout with COVID?
I am absolutely no expert on COVID, so I am not even going to write any decisions here. If you want the CDC recommendations, head over to their website.
What I can tell you here, is that similar to the flu, you are going to want to listen to your body. It should seem fairly obvious at this point that if you are struggling to breath, have a fever, or have muscle and body aches, you should NOT be working out.
If you have COVID, you should definitely be staying at home, so be sure you checkout our best bodyweight exercises article.
Main Point: Is it ok to workout while sick?
As you can probably discern by now, it’s not that simple.
Every person experiences being sick differently. We all have our own unique immune system that works in it’s own way. While there are a lot of similarities, the way our body reacts to them can vastly differ.
The main takeaway with this article should be to monitor your body. Here is a quick checklist.
It is OK to workout with the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
It is NOT OK to workout with the following symptoms
- Difficulty breathing
- Body aches
- Muscle pain
Just take it easy if you decide to workout while sick. It is not the end of the world if you miss a couple workouts in order to get better. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so none of what I say should be taken as medical advice.