Work Out When You Are Sick

Can You Work Out When You are Sick?

You have recently begun working out and enjoying the process, but suddenly you feel sick and are confused about what to do next? No doubt exercise helps improve overall health but should you exercise when you are ill or not? And if the answer is no, when can you resume your exercise routine?

These are the common questions that pop up in people’s minds when they are sick, and they wonder what to do or what not? Don’t worry; you are in the right place. In this article, we will discuss the risks & benefits of exercising when you are sick and what kind of workout you should and should not do?

Keep on reading to know more about this.

Is it ok to work when you are sick?

If you are a fitness freak or in the middle of a training session, it becomes difficult for you to discontinue your routine. Broadly the human body is divided into two parts: above the neck and below the neck. Exercise should be fine if you have symptoms above the neck, including cold symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, headache, or scratchy throat. However, if you are feeling symptoms below the neck, such as fever, vomiting, and stomach ache, it’s better to slow down and rest.

When is it ok to work out?

Just like a coin has two sides, working out while sick also has benefits and risks. Doing moderate or mild exercise is ok if you have a common cold with no fever. Exercise may help you to feel better and more active. It also helps to deal with a stuffy nose. However, it differs from one person to another. Let’s discuss when it is ok to work out?

Working out with the below-given symptoms is considered to be safe, but if you are not sure, it is always good to consult your doctor.

Mild Cold

A mild cold appears one to three days after exposure to the cold virus; its symptoms may include irritated throat, nasal congestion, or sneezing. It is considered to be fine to do a workout while suffering from a mild cold. However, it is advisable to lower the intensity of the workout.


If you are not suffering from any severe ear infection or if fever or loss of balance doesn’t accompany the ear pain, it is ok to work out while having an earache. But you need to be very cautious while working out as you can build up dangerous pressure in your inner ears during exercises if you strain too hard or hold your breath during strenuous routines.

Stuffy Nose

As long as you are not suffering from severe fever, you can work out with a stuffy nose. A good workout may help alleviate some of the nasal discomforts by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion. However, do not forget to keep yourself hydrated.

Mild Sore Throat

Like other diseases mentioned above, working out with a mild sore throat is doable. However, it is advisable to keep yourself hydrated and drink water while exercising to ease throat irritation.

When workingout is not recommended?

While exercise is considered a good medium to keep yourself healthy, doing a moderate and mild workout is also ok while you are sick. But this does not apply to all situations, such as


Fever can cause unpleasant symptoms, including weakness, dehydration, muscle aches, and a loss of appetite. If you are suffering from high and severe fever, then it is advisable to avoid working out. Working out while you’re feeling feverish double the risk of dehydration and can make a fever worse.

Stomach Bug

Diseases that affect your digestive system are known as stomach flu. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, stomach cramping, and decreased appetite. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause weakness and dehydration; hence it is highly advisable not to work out. But you can do some stretching and yoga to soothe the stomach ache.


It can be mild and severe depending on the infection, although not everyone who suffers from flu experiences the same symptoms. But overall, every individual who is suffering from flu experience a fever. It also increases the risk of dehydration, making working out a bad idea. Furthermore, flu is a contagious disease that can spread through a tiny droplet. Hence it is recommended to stay isolated and take rest.

Workouts that you should avoid

There are several workouts that you should avoid while sick such as

  • Endurance running
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Team sports: increase the risk of spreading it to others
  • Sprinting
  • Hot yoga or Pilates
  • spin classes

Workouts that are allowed to do

Doing some workouts is a great option to stay active, especially when you are not feeling well and don’t have the power to keep up with your regular workout routine. Here are a few workouts that you can do while sick.

Tips for working out while sick

If you are not suffering from any severe diseases and want to work out while sick, then keep these things in mind:

  • Stay Hydrated- Hydration is essential, especially when recovering from sickness. Staying hydrated can help you to avoid the effects of dehydration
  • Balance electrolytes- Along with hydration, you also need to replenish electrolyte salts while exercising. You can drink different liquids such as coconut water, broth, miso soup, or sports drinks to restore electrolytes and fasten recovery.
  • Eat a balanced diet- To speed up the recovery process, boost the immune system & prevent infection, you need to eat a balanced diet. You can add different types of vegetables and fruits to your meal.
  • Avoid overexertion- When you suffer from any disease, your body starts working hard to recover. During this time, it is highly essential to do mild or moderate workouts. It may not be a good idea to put pressure on your body.
  • Do not infect others- Avoid going out or working out at the gym. Common colds and flu are very contagious and spread super-fast. Hence you need to be very careful. If you are interested, then you can do home workouts
  • Listen to your body- After doing some exercise, if you are feeling exhausted, this is a sign to stop and take some rest.

When should you return to your regular workout routine?

Regular exercise boosts immunity and reduces the chances of falling sick. Many people are eager to return to the gym or start their regular workouts after recovery. Feeling anxious to restart your workout routine after recovering is normal, but you should consider your body’s requirements and listen to the doctor’s advice. Giving your body enough time to recover and regain strength is important. Similarly, you should be aware of the point that you are not spreading the virus to others.

Bottom Line

Working out helps in improving the overall health of an individual. However, while suffering from any disease or flu, it is important to consider your body’s needs and work accordingly. Even if you want to exercise despite suffering from illness, it is advisable to do home workouts so that you will not spread the virus to others.


How soon can I start my exercise after being sick?

After recovering from illness, wait for at least 1 or 2 days before hitting the gym or returning to your routine. However, regaining your previous workout intensity takes 1 to 2 weeks.

Does exercise help you recover from sickness faster?

Regular exercise boosts the immune system; however, there is no proper evidence that exercise enables you to recover from illness faster.

Is sweating it out good when sick?

If you are suffering from a cold, sweating it out, or doing some moderate workouts is a good idea to relieve symptoms temporarily.

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