I’m sick, should I exercise? The answer, it depends… It depends on many factors such as the type of illness, the duration, where you plan on exercising and what type of exercise you plan on doing.
The type of illness you have will determine whether it is appropriate for you to train. If you have a mild cold, you may still benefit from a lighter training session in the fresh air. It isn’t recommended that you train in a public gym while you are infectious, but a home workout or walk around the block could well be appropriate.
If you are struggling with a basic cold, some light exercise may help you feel better and open up your airways. A light walk or stretch may be exactly what you need, but it’s important to listen to your body! A HIIT workout or heavy weights session is probably just going to set you back another few days as your immune system struggles to keep up with the stressors of exercise and recovery.
If you feel lethargic, you struggle to breathe, with sore joints and muscles, it is probably best you rest until these symptoms subside. By exercising, you are only putting more strain on your energy and immune systems which may slow your recovery dramatically.
If you have been vomiting, lost fluids or have a serious flu, you should absolutely not be exercising. Your body needs all the energy it has to recover and allow your immune system to get to bed. The time you spend resting isn’t going to ruin your goals or put you behind. The best thing you can do is rest and focus on your nutrition.
If you have been feeling under the weather and struggling with the cold and flu season, the best things you can do are:
- Listen to your body – do you have the energy to train or will it only make you more fatigued?
- Stay hydrated, especially if you are struggling with a cold.
- Focus on your nutrition, try to have as many fruits and veggies as possible and consider a vitamin supplement.
- Sleep and rest – the most important thing to consider if you are feeling unwell!