Working Out While Sick – Should You Do It?

working out while sickWorking out while sick– Is that something that is ok to do? Since I help a lot of people go through P90X, Insanity, and other Beachbody workouts, I tend to get that question ALL the time. So I wanted to address this dilemma of working out while sick. First before I jump into things, I did want let you know that I’m not a medical doctor, nor have I ever been one. Also, while I did do a considerable amount of research before putting this blog post together (from what I believe are pretty reliable sources), I didn’t personally consult with a doctor before putting this blog post together. This is all purely my own opinion and you should use my advice at your own risk (that goes for anything on my blog).

You should always seek the advice of your doctor when it comes to working out while sick. Don’t try to be a hero, or Superman. When in doubt, SEE YOUR DOCTOR! Since we’re talking about your health and well being I just wanted to throw that out there.

So Jonathan, Is Working Out While Sick OK To Do?

I can’t tell you whether it’s ok to exercise while sick because every situation is different. However, I can tell you what I would personally do in certain situations. So let me try to explain what I would do. If I had a typical cold with a stuffy/runny nose, headache, etc. I would likely still workout. If my headache was to the point were I couldn’t think clearly, then I would not workout. Also, if I had a fever, I would most definitely not workout. So in most situations (unless you have a fever), I would say it is ok to move forward with your exercise plan for the day when working out with a cold.

Working Out While Sick – Can You Sweat Out The Germs?

working out with a coldI’ve heard of some people saying that you can just sweat out the germs, bacteria, etc. and that working out while sick will actually help you get better. You cannot just sweat out the germs and magically be healed; that is a myth and just flat out not true. There are some benefits though to doing light intensity workouts while sick. From my research, I found that working out while sick at low intensity levels do help raise your endorphins which benefits your body. However, working out at a high intensity level while sick will dramatically raise your endorphin levels which can actually wear down your immune system (that is obviously bad).

Here’s a quote from an article by CNN

[quote style=”boxed”]Kellerman said it is a myth that you can sweat out germs and toxins. He acknowledges that “low levels of exercise increase endorphins and benefit the body, but an intense workout that creates high levels of endorphins can wear down the immune system.” In other words, “Don’t count on endorphins to heal you,” he said.[/quote]

Kellerman is a medical doctor from the American Academy of Family Physicians, so I have no reason to question what he’s saying. So if you have a simple cold with no fever, then some light exercise can help you to a degree (walking around a neighborhood, etc.). Me being my stubborn self I would still likely do my P90X workout for the day if my symptoms aren’t horribly bad. As Dr. Kellerman stated above though, working out while sick to a high intensity workout can actually be bad and wear down your immune system further.

So next time I am working out with a cold I’ll definitely still be doing my P90X workout, but I’ll ensure to workout at a much lower intensity level than I usually do.

Working Out While Sick – Other Situations

Here’s a few situations where I would not be working out while sick if I have these symptoms-

  • As I mentioned earlier, if I have a fever.
  • Chest congestion.
  • Any stomach issues.
  • If I had muscle aches everywhere (I’m talking about the muscle aches you get when you have the flu).

Of course it would be impossible for me to list every single symptom that would cause me to not workout, but these are the most common.

Working Out While Sick – Use Common Sense!

You’ve got to use common sense when it comes to working out while sick! As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog post, if you are in doubt, see your doctor! If your body doesn’t feel normal, then something probably isn’t right and you should get checked out. At the same time though I don’t want you to use this as an ongoing excuse NOT to workout (you know who you are if you’re a habitual excuse maker).

Lastly, if you have just gotten over being sick, then don’t go full throttle back to your workouts at the first sign of getting better. Give your body plenty of rest and time to recuperate. When you’re ready to get back to your workouts, ease yourself back into your workout routine. Hold back some during your first workout, and work your away back up to giving 100%. That will ensure you allow your body to fully get better and so you don’t relapse or prolong your illness.

I hope that you found this blog post helpful. If you did find my “Working Out While Sick” page helpful, then make sure to share it with your friends by clicking any of the links below!

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