Is it Safe to Exercise While Being Sick?
In general, moderate, consistent exercise is fine when you have mild cold symptoms. It can lower stress hormones and also help reduce nasal congestion and relieve some cold symptoms. The rule of thumb that most doctors recommend is exercise is okay if all symptoms are “above the neck” such as runny nose, congestion, sneezing or mild sore throat. It is advisable to take it easy by reducing the length and intensity of the workout, especially if you are feeling fatigued. Extremely strenuous workouts can actually increase stress hormones and make you feel worse.
If symptoms are felt “below the neck” such as coughing, chest congestion, wheezing, flu like soreness of the muscles, upset stomach or fever then it is recommended to rest until symptoms diminish. If you have a fever at all, you should refrain from exercise since this can increase your internal body temperature and also dehydrate you even more. Allow your body to rest and recover and don’t add any increased stress.
In general, listen to your body – if you are feeling fatigued, overly tired or weak, you should reduce your activity and rest. Although we all hate to miss our workouts, by allowing your body to heal faster, you will be able to resume your exercise routines sooner. According to the American Council on Exercise, the average adult has two or three respiratory infections a year. However, it is okay to exercise if your symptoms remain above the neck.
Gradually ease back into your workouts and start by completing roughly 75 percent of your normal routine (for cardio or weights) for about a week. Trying to get back to a full workout too soon may prolong your recovery phase and may be short of breath, which can increase the risk of an upper respiratory infection. – Dr. Cat