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Working Out While Sick

So what is the rule on working out while you’re sick? Feeling a bit under the weather over the past few days prompted me to write this blog about exercising while sick. I have been experiencing symptoms of either severe allergies or a mild cold and it has definitely put a halt to my workouts, not to mention canceling clients for the day. What symptoms should put a definite stop to your workouts until you are feeling better?

While doing some research for myself (because I am absolutely dying to hit legs today) I found a great article on about whether or not exercising will affect the severity or duration of cold symptoms. They suggest that low to moderate intensity workouts are okay but that “high intensity exercise such as heavy weight lifting of high intensity aerobic training has been shown to have a negative impact on the immune system during a cold or respiratory infection.”*

Common sense tells you that you should not workout while having a fever, but what about headaches and dizziness? I think the real answer lies in listening to your body. If you are not feeling well, that is your body trying to tell you that something may be wrong. A CNN article says that “even though it may be tempting to not break an exercise routine, working out may actually prolong the illness.” The article then goes on to say that, “If you’re suffering from chest congestion, coughing and shortness of breath, you also shouldn’t work out. And exercising with a stomach ache will probably make you feel worse.”*

So what about your trainer? Anytime I am “outwardly” sick, meaning sneezing, couching, etc I cancel appointments. No one wants a snotty-nosed trainer handing them weights and potentially passing on illness. Be courteous and let your clients know you are not well. They won’t mind you keeping your germs at home.

With contradicting advice found in numerous articles, I think the real answer is: be cautious. Listen to your body.

*Link to the article.
*Link to the CNN article.

*Photo from