Should I Exercise When I’m Sick?

Melbourne Personal Trainer | Should I Exercise When Sick?Should I Exercise When I’m Sick?

Short answer: No
Long answer: Maybe

At the moment, most of my clients have been sick with a cold or felt very run down. It was only a matter of time before I caught something too – and I think I got everything all at once! So I thought it would be timely to write about training when you’re sick.

When the cooler months are upon us, so is Cold and Flu Season, so now is the time to make sure you are eating super nutritious food to do your best to avoid getting sick.

If you do get sick, you may still be able to exercise, depending on what you’ve got. The general rule out there is if it’s above the neck, then you can still exercise, possibly at a lower intensity. And if it’s below the neck (fever, nausea etc) then you shouldn’t exercise. Let’s take a look at the above the neck situations.

Firstly, you must always listen to your body. If you don’t feel well enough to train, then absolutely do not push it.

I have a lot of clients that like to push themselves hard, including when they’re not well. If you are like this, then you’re going to have to learn to back off. Remember that a period of rest is great for your body. This is when super-compensation kicks in, so when you get back to training, your muscles will be stronger than where you left off.

  • If you are too sick to go to work (and I don’t mean, you have a few sick days up your sleeve, so you decide to take a sick day even if you feel fine enough to work) then you are too sick to exercise.
  • If you have been sleeping all day, but want to get up to exercise, then you are too sick to exercise. Don’t feel guilty for not exercising, and don’t pressure yourself into getting your training done when you know you’ll be better off lying down.
  • If you feel dizzy when you stand up, then you are too sick to exercise.
  • If the thought of going for a 10 minute walk seems daunting, then you are too sick to exercise.

Get the idea? Basically, if you know that you are better off lying down than doing your regular daily activities, then you are too sick to exercise.

So when could you exercise?

  • Melbourne Personal Trainer | Should I Exercise When I'm Sick?I have some clients that absolutely swear by a cardio session to help clear a cold. Not something too intense. Perhaps a short light run, or 20 minutes of bodyweight exercises, or a bike ride. This has occasionally helped me in the past, and if you just have the sniffles, it can sometimes help clear your nose a bit.
  • If your cold is really mild then you can probably still exercise. You may need to modify things if your breathing is not as good as usual, or if you tire faster, or if you have a runny nose you won’t want to do anything with your head facing down.
  • If you feel generally run down, then perhaps some light exercise will pick you up a bit. In this case, cancelling your training session might not be a good idea. Instead, modify it so you are doing some light activity to get the blood flowing a bit more, and to get your body feeling nice and mobile could be just what you need to feel better again.

Do you see a pattern here? Basically, if you are not feeling great, but not bad enough to stop your general daily activities, then you can probably still exercise.

Always exercise caution, and listen to your body. Stop if something makes you feel worse. And consider a totally different workout to what you had planned to help you feel better. If you have a personal trainer, ask them to modify the session for you so you feel rejuvenated instead of exhausted.

What do you think? Do you exercise when you’re sick? Or do you take time off? What works best for you?

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  1. You wrote, “工作量有增無減 … 未來還要再吃重些 有必要和沒必要的事 照做 堆積著的事好像永遠清不完 從前我從不拖延 比以前煩躁 容易因小故生氣 同事與家人大概受了我不少臉色”This may be your way to bury your emotions and mind in work to avoid denailg with your lost and the mounting pressures.My advice is to decouple yourself and slow yourself down to allow yourself time to rest, time to heal, and time to be with your loved ones.In the HK environment, it is almost automatic and easy to think that work, money, and promotions mean everything. But when comparing to your personal health and time with your loved ones (when they need you and you need them), the importance assigned to “work, money, and promotions” may not be that easily “本來想藉著寫一本有關爸爸的書 慢工細貨 順道讓情緒得到適當宣泄 結果連這件事本身也成了負擔 “Let me share this story that may shine some light.By chance, I have the pleasure of knowing Apple Daily’s Mr. Li Yee & his wife (李怡 和 李太) and met them once or twice every year for many years when they visit their daughter & family in Calgary. 李怡 was deeply saddened when 李太 passed away suddenly over a year ago. 李怡 ended up writing many beautiful articles about Mrs. Li in his Apple column and my friends and I were deeply touched by those articles.I guess my point is this, don’t turn remembering your loving dad and write a book about him as an additional source of pressure for yourself. Write about your dad in this blog whenever you feel the strong urge to. And before you know it, you will have enough articles to collect them and put them into a book (if you wish to). And I think the more important thing for you is the PROCESS of writing the articles. Because time and the process of remembering are some of the key ingredients to help you *and* your loved ones heal.Take care and get well soon.

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