Top Social

S&S Day 41: Should you work out while being sick?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Sefa here: Back from our mini hiatus - S&S pulled in a 30 min circuit challenge workout courtesy of Nike Training Club. It was intense 30 minutes - especially for being inactive for 3 days. Being sick totally sucked and it took more effort to stay in bed than get to the gym and put that 30-60min in.  I mean-it's so easy to feel guilty after all the work we put in over the past few weeks.   So I did a little research to see if I should have worked out or stay in bed:

On cnn.com I found that:

Dr. Rick Kellerman, of the American Academy of Family Physicians, advises his patients to skip their workout if they have a fever. It puts too much stress on the heart, which already is beating faster because of the higher body temperature. If you're suffering from chest congestion, coughing and shortness of breath, he said, you also shouldn't work out. And exercising with a stomach ache will probably make you feel worse, he added.  But if you have the sniffles and milder symptoms of a cold, moderate exercise is probably OK, Kellerman said.

He also suggests easing back into a full workout.  "When you're feeling better, don't start back at 100 percent," he said. "Start at a lower level. Give yourself time to recuperate [or] you might relapse or prolong the illness."

Bodybuilding.com featured an article about a study sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine headed by Thomas G. Weidner, Ph.D., Ball State University, which indicated that exercising moderately while you have a common cold doesn't affect the severity or duration of the symptoms.  The study revealed that exercising at a moderate intensity level does not intensify cold symptoms or compromise the immune system. It seems that a moderate level of intensity is not enough to alter immune response.

The article went on to warn readers that high intensity exercise such as heavy weight lifting or high intensity aerobic training has been shown to have a negative impact on the immune system during a cold or any respiratory infection.


Amy Dixon at Women's Health  echoed a similar message, advising that "Your symptoms hold the answer. The general rule is that if your sickness is above the neck, such as a runny or stuffy nose or general cold symptoms, it is okay to exercise at a moderate intensity.  Remember that now is not the time for intense interval training."  

Mayo Clinic website echoed a similar rule of thumb:
  • Proceed with your workout if your signs and symptoms are "above the neck" — such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or sore throat. Be prepared to reduce the intensity of your workout if needed, however.
  • Postpone your workout if your signs and symptoms are "below the neck" — such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach. Likewise, don't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

After reading a few more articles it seems the general consensus is to listen to your body.  I do want to add that you should be HONEST about listening to your body.  Some people confuse "sickness" for laziness and use it as an excuse (you know who you are!) ... that is just a slippery slope leading back into your bad ways (and undoing all your work!).   In the long run, getting those few extra days of rest just put me in a better position to get back into busy-woman mode.

Well Thank goodness for Sariah waking me up after a 1hr snoozefest I had with my alarm clock lol. We got it in and am happy we did.  I have to teach 3 classes tonight and one tomorrow as well as travel this weekend to New Orleans.  I'm not 100% but I definitely feel better than I did monday.  We'll be back on the grind in no time!
Post Comment
Post a Comment

Auto Post Signature

Auto Post  Signature