The next time you’re sick, determine whether working out will help or hurt your condition with these tips:
DO check your symptoms.
If you have above the neck signs, such as a runny nose, sneezing or
sore throat, moderate exercise is generally safe as long as your do not
have a fever. If you have below the neck signs, such as extreme
fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, swollen lymph glands
or a hacking cough, allow at least two weeks before returning to
DON’T exercise with a fever.
Fever (a body temperature of above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) signifies
you are doing battle with a virus. Exercising under these conditions
increases your risk of dehydration, heatstroke and even heart failure.
DO modify your exercise intensity.
You cannot power away your ailment through more intense workouts. In
fact, you may make your illness worse. A simple sore throat, for
example, could indicate an infection, and your immunity to fight it
will be reduced if you continue vigorous exercise. Moderate exercise,
however, is fine for mild cold symptoms as long as your heart rate and
body temperature do not increase excessively. If you feel fine, you can
increase your intensity. Stop exercising if you feel dizzy or nauseous.
DON’T infect or become infected.
Be alert to air quality conditions at your training facility. During
cold and flu seasons, exercise during less-crowded hours to avoid
catching or transmitting viruses. However, the best way to prevent the
spread of the germs that cause colds is to wash your hands regularly.
DO exercise to keep your immunity strong.
Researchers have found a link between regular exercise and improved
immune function response. During moderate exercise, immune cells
circulate more quickly through your body and are better at destroying
viruses and bacteria.
DON’T let a temporary illness stop you permanently.
Focus on flexibility, stress management and mind/body awareness during
down times. Moreover, plan how to resume your activity program as soon
as you can rather than letting yourself drift into sedentary habits.
DO give your body the time it needs to recover.
Making up for lost time in the gym can drain your immune system all
over again. Exercise for two days at a lower intensity for each day you
DON’T hesitate to consult your doctor. Even if an illness is minor, check with your physician if you are seriously concerned.