Should You Work Out When You’re Sick?

I feel like I’ve been sick forever! Hence, the blog break, the break from working out, and just a bit of a break from the hectic schedule I keep.

But this also let me to think… is it okay to work out when you’re sick?

The general rule of thumb seems to be that if the symptoms are above the neck (runny or stuffy nose, headache, etc.), you’re good to go. But if the symptoms are below the neck (lung congestion, coughing, gastrointestinal related), then sit it out.

It makes sense when you think about it. When you’re not able to keep food down, working our will just make that feeling worse (and nobody at the gym wants to see what you tried to eat for breakfast). When your lungs are feeling congested, it’s going to be hard to breathe through your workout (and, from personal experience this past little while, I end up coughing even more). A fever may raise your body temperature past discomfort, and can also cause excessive dehydration as a result.

Of course, even if you do have the above-the neck symptoms and want to work out, there are a few other considerations… does anyone REALLY want you near them at the gym if you’re sneezing and blowing your nose? The cold virus can live on many surfaces for several hours, so every surface you touch has the potential to infect someone else.

Ultimately, the decision to go for it or not is yours alone. But keeping in mind that when you’re sick, you’re likely also tired and run down, no matter what symptoms you have, it’s not always the best idea to attempt a hard workout, or choose the time to make big changes to your routine or activity level.

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