Exercising is part of the daily routine of many people. For some, missing even only a day of working out is simply unthinkable and unacceptable. Because of this, no matter how busy they are, they try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of running, swimming, or using the treadmill to complete their daily fitness regimen.

Many people’s dedication to staying fit and healthy has risen to the level of working out even when they are sick. They still exercise when they are feeling under the weather and not in the best condition.

How sick is “too sick to work out”?

If you are a fitness buff, one of the questions that may be plaguing you is whether you should exercise with a cough, cold, and any ailments that you might have. Since you are committed to staying healthy and in excellent shape, you may have an ironclad rule of never missing a day of working out.

Many health experts say that exercising is an excellent additional therapy for people who are sick. This is because working out while you’re feeling unwell can help you sleep better, enabling you to have a good-quality rest.

Additionally, exercising can also boost your energy and mood. As such, you will feel a bit better and less depressed, even if you are not in the best shape.

However, it is highly likely that you won’t experience these health benefits if you work out when you are too sick.

But how do you know you are too sick to work out? If you have the following symptoms, it is best to avoid exercising and any kind of strenuous activity until you have completely recovered:

  1. Fever

If your cough or cold is accompanied by a fever, skip working out temporarily.

This is because exercising when you have a fever can increase your body temperature further. As a result, you will take longer to recuperate fully.

If your fever is accompanied by chills, you will do well to avoid working out for three to five days. Wait until the other symptoms of your flu go away before you start exercising again.

However, don’t assume that if you don’t have a fever, you can engage in an intense workout right away. If you run outdoors while it is raining or extremely cold, or do something that can weaken or compromise your immune system, you will never feel better.

It is best to ask your doctor if you can work out at all while you have a fever. If he or she does not recommend this, rest for a few days. Listen to your body to know if you are ready to train again. If you’re still feeling weak even without the other symptoms, take it easy for another day or two.

  1. Fatigue and sluggishness

Certain illnesses can make you feel tired and weak. You will do well to postpone your training if you have these symptoms.

If you try to work out when you are not in your best physical condition, your sense of coordination and strength is reduced. As a result, you will be more susceptible to injury.

Moreover, engaging in physical activities while you still feel weak can worsen your ailment. This is because working out can add stress to your body.

Keep in mind that feeling extremely tired and constantly weak indicates something is happening in the body. As such, you need to consult your doctor and avoid doing things that are too physically taxing and exhausting.

  1. Aches and pains

If you are feeling under the weather but think you can still handle running or exercising at the gym, do so. But if your legs and arms start aching after 15 minutes, stop working out.  

Although experiencing some discomfort while exercising is normal, it is not normal to start feeling aches and pains faster than usual. Stop exercising if you begin wheezing or you’re unable to catch your breath, as this indicates that your body is not up for any strenuous physical activity.

Be extra careful as well when you feel a sharp pain in your back when you bend or turn around.  Avoid straining your back and rest for a few days until it feels better to avoid making the soreness worse.

  1. Asthma

Having asthma should not stop you from exercising to stay healthy and fit. However, you need to keep this condition under control for safe, regular workouts.

Also, avoid working out if you recently had an asthma attack. Take a extra few days to rest, even if you have no more symptoms.

Exercising too quickly after an asthma attack can worsen your condition.

  1. Dry mouth

A dry mouth is often an accompanying symptom of frequent coughing. However, it is sometimes a sign of an underlying health issue, as well.

If your cough is caused by a respiratory infection, fighting it will take a lot of the fluids in your body. If your mouth is drier than usual, you may be suffering from dehydration.

If you persist in working out even if you are dehydrated, you will feel more tired and weaker than usual. Moreover, you will strain your body even more.

While recovering from your illness, drink plenty of water and consume soup and water-rich fruits so you can get rid of your dry mouth condition and dehydration.

Working out when you have a cough

If you have a cough or cold, it is safe to work out as long as you have mild above-the-neck symptoms such as a sore throat, congestion, and a runny nose.

However, if you are experiencing below-the-neck symptoms that include chest congestion and back pain, get some rest, drink your medication, and skip the workout. Give your body some time to recover.

And if you do work out when you have a cough or cold, engage only in mild to moderate exercises. These include walking and gentle yoga. Do these for only 10 to 15 minutes, so as not to strain your body.

Additionally, don’t forget to take your medicines and drink plenty of fluids. To relieve your symptoms, try recommended home remedies for dry cough in adults, too.

Lastly, get plenty of rest and always listen to your body before and during your workouts to stay safe and avoid aggravating your ailment.


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