My name is Claire Sobolewski

Hi I’m Claire,
A physiotherapist, motivator, trainer, and speaker. Dream big, travel often, love the journey’ as my ‘moto’

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Should You Exercise When Sick


Not sure if you should get to the gym to clear your head, or whether the head cold is really something more? Overall, it’s not necessarily bad to work out when you’re sick, but it can be in some circumstances. There are several factors that you need to consider when making your decision. First, is your sickness contagious?

This is basically the first question you should ask yourself. If your workout involves exercising with other people, such as in a gym or an exercise class then it’s important that you show consideration for the people around you. You don’t want to show up at your Swiss Ball class and start sneezing spreading germs around in the process.

Since you need to touch exercise equipment when you work out in a gym, you might end up spreading your disease to the other gym users. As you probably know, regular exercise is essential for good health. However, there are times when a workout might have a negative effect on your body, especially when you are physically sick. When you exercise, your heart rate increases as well as the core temperature of your body. Your body also burns fuel or energy at a fast rate.

Since you are constantly perspiring during exercise, a workout can also cause you to lose water. These effects are all harmless in a healthy body. However, if you’re sick then these effects can have a negative impact on you. Since the demands on your body are much more than they would normally be when you exercise, if you have a high temperature from a cold or fever, exercising may raise your core temperature to possibly dangerous levels.

Dehydration, a serious issue when exercising in the heat especially, is also magnified when unwell. A simple way to work out if you should do extra reps or extra rest the neck check. If your symptoms are above the neck e.g.. headache or runny nose, then you’re probably able to exercise at about half pace. Moderate the exercise and always slow or stop if you feel worse.

Although working out won’t make your cold or allergies disappear any quicker, it won’t make them worse or prolong your sickness. A moderate intensity workout will still achieve your 30 minutes of physical activity, without pushing yourself too far. If you’re doing weight training, reduce your weight training load by at least 25 percent to give your body a break during its illness.

If your symptoms cover any other part of your body e.g.fever, then you should avoid exercising until you feel better. Exercising will divert your body’s resources away from where it is needed (fixing the illness). So the bottom line is, exercising with a cold may be OK, but if you’ve got a fever, hitting the gym is a definite no-no.