Working Out When Sick

The question to work out or not is one that often comes up for discussion this time of year. It’s one that came up for me this week. With changing seasons and different daily temperature fluctuations, my body can’t keep up with the changes. I felt as though I was fighting a little something all week, so I opted for an extra rest day last Thursday. By the time Saturday rolled around I was feeling back to normal. Or so I thought. Soon after my morning run, I felt as though I’d been hit by a truck. Fever and all. That meant more rest. Rrrrr !!! It is not always an easy choice to sit a session out. Especially when you’ve been chasing your goals HARD or when you are the trainer!

Days later, still dealing with this pesky virus, I’m adding the finishing touches to this blog from the comfort of my bed with a hot peppermint, coconut coffee and my oil diffuser going strong!

After a night of coughing and clamminess, for the first time ever, I have had to cancel clients this morning. But coughing through cardio sessions isn’t a good look. The inspiring thing is, my clients are so determined. Each one of them will spend their training hour on their own independent study program doing something good for themselves. Walking, stretching, even praying! My website has a month’s worth of workouts, so they are covered!

There’s a fine line between being tough and being foolish. Make your choice wisely. My advice: when in doubt, sit it out. In case you’re not sure, here are a few best practices when it comes to your fitness…especially if you are under the weather.

“If your symptoms are above the neck, including a sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, and tearing eyes, then it’s OK to exercise,” he says. “If your symptoms are below the neck, such as coughing, body aches, fever, and fatigue, then it’s time to hang up the running shoes until these symptoms subside.” webmd 

  1. If you have a fever. This is probably common sense but…Absolutely no activity! You are not only sick, you could potentially infect others. There is a rule in schools that if a child has a fever, they must be fever free for 24 hours before returning. I agree. Rest! An elevated heart rate is a terrible idea. And please stay out of your gym or fitness studio.Stay home! Viruses can spread quickly when sharing equipment, machines, or contact with each other.
  2. If you are achy. This is a maybe. Look at the big picture. Could extra rest time serve you more than your regular workout? If you are a runner and are close to a race, always side with extra rest. One workout won’t make you faster. But it can make you more tired and depleted going in to your big day. This could lead to a possibly botched race and longer recovery period. Consider an at home stretch session or meditation break instead. 
  3. If it is a head cold. Consider the severity and your airways.. A lot of heavy cardio pavement pounding won’t make you feel better. Skip the running, burpees, mt. climbers, or jumping movements. Bending over could lead to more symptoms. Opt for light weight training in a stationary position instead. If you have a runny nose, choose an at home workout with your own equipment. Be sure to wipe down with antibacterial wipes when finished.

So if you have to sit this one out….we know how heartbreaking it can be. Maybe even frustrating, especially if you’ve been on a health kick and you rarely miss a workout. Just remember one pizza doesn’t make you overweight and one workout doesn’t make you stronger! By making the decision to sit out one or two workouts, you will likely come back stronger and more hungry than ever to keep up the change. If you push through an illness and attempt to complete a rigorous workout, you may suffer a longer set back, an injury, or worse. Check your ego at the door. Focus on your nutrition intake instead! Put on a pot of soup and snuggle up with your pets like I will be doing today! 

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