Can and Should I Exercise With a Cold or the Flu?

Many people know that you should avoid strenuous exercise if you have the flu. But what about when you are sick with a cold?

The answer is not so clear-cut, but there are some things to consider before deciding whether or not to work out while sick.

This article will address these considerations and give guidance on when it may be okay to exercise with a cold or the flu. Can and Should I Exercise With a Cold or the Flu?

Note: This article offers genuine advice, but we are not Doctors and we do not pretend to be. Please consult your doctor before making any decisions about whether or not you should exercise when sick with a cold, flu, stomach bug, etc.

It's easy for us to blame our lack of willpower for our inability to stick with healthy habits like eating well and exercising. And sure, many times we do find ourselves lacking in motivation (especially during the winter months!).

But sometimes it's also due to feeling run down which can lead us into believing we're too tired to exercise.

Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity

Healthline and Everyday Health both agree that you should avoid strenuous physical activity when sick, especially with a fever or the flu.

So unless your cold is extremely mild (you have only minor symptoms like sneezing and sniffling), it's best to skip out on working out until you've fully recovered from your illness.

If you do decide to work out despite being sick, it's helpful to wear a mask when going outside or entering the gym.

This will help prevent your illness from spreading and possibly infecting others in need of healing energy.

Are You Already Ill?

Another thing to consider is whether or not your symptoms are related specifically to what you're doing at the time. For instance, if you're working out with a broken bone or injured ligament, it's understandable that feeling pain during exercise is normal.

However, when your symptoms are due to the fact that you're sick and not because of what you're doing at the moment (e.g., running while struggling to breathe), then they should be taken seriously.

There have been cases where people have died from heart attacks brought on by exercising while ill due to health issues like high blood pressure or coronary disease being exacerbated by activity.

So even though some doctors say there isn't enough evidence to support this claim, don't risk it! 

Be safe rather than sorry—if you feel terrible after exercising regardless of your illness status, only push yourself so far.

It's also important to note that if you're sick with a cold, the flu, or any other virus, chances are you have some sort of fever as well.

Low-Grade Fever

Although it varies from person to person and situation to situation, a low-grade fever may actually be a good thing for your body since heat increases immune system activity which helps fight off infection.

But this doesn't necessarily mean running around in 100-degree weather is going to make your illness disappear instantly!

So unless someone else has recommended extremely high temperatures for treating your condition (such as those suffering from meningitis), stick with cooler temps until you feel better. And definitely don't exercise outdoors when there is air pollution—this can irritate respiratory conditions like asthma and cause serious problems for your lungs.

When to Go Get Checked Out

Sometimes it doesn't matter how good you feel (or don't feel), whether you're exercising or not, if something seems medically wrong then you need to get checked out by a doctor or go to the emergency room right away.

Even when exhibiting symptoms that are mild and seemingly harmless like a cough, runny nose and general malaise (feeling unwell without other more specific symptoms), it's always best to err on the side of caution because these things can be signs of many different illnesses which should all be treated seriously due to their similarity in appearance.

So while working out with a cold may seem innocent enough, pay attention! Your body is trying to tell you that something isn't right and maybe it's time for a break from the gym.

And if symptoms do progress, such as your fever moving up in degrees or getting worse with prolonged activity, then definitely go get checked out by a doctor—the earlier they catch what is going on the better!

What should I do if my body is sore from exercising with a cold or the flu?

If this happens, it means your body is already fighting the illness you're trying to get rid of (i.e., cold) which, in turn, also makes it harder for your muscles and joints to recover after working out.

Therefore, take this time to rest up before hitting the gym again—you'll be thankful when symptoms are under control!

Can I work out if I have a sore throat?

If you absolutely must work out when ill then make sure that's all you do.  Don't forget about other things like eating well or getting enough sleep because these activities will help speed recovery along as well.

And remember not to push yourself too hard since there isn't any evidence suggesting exercise can prevent an illness from worsening so don't risk it.

How can you tell if you're getting better and what to do about it?

You can tell if you're getting better by taking note of how you feel after exercising.

If it's easier to breathe and your muscles aren't as sore, then that's a sign things are getting better! However, if you're still feeling unwell either during or after working out (and not just when doing intense activity), then don't exercise again until symptoms lessen.

When Is It Safe To Exercise Again?  

If the illness goes away completely - no fever, throat pain, muscle aches, etc...then there isn't any reason why you can't start back up with regular workouts gradually over time in order to progress at your own pace without further complications arising.

How much rest should I be taking when sick and how does that affect recovery time?

This will vary from person to person as everyone recovers at different rates.

However, rest is often recommended after working out since this helps muscles and joints recover from the stress they've been put through during exercise.

When you're sick it's better not to work too hard because your body needs all of its energy reserves in order for both internal and external processes (like fighting off an infection) to take place effectively without running low on fuel or getting overwhelmed by something that would otherwise be quite easily handled if we were healthier!  

So try not to exercise until symptoms start decreasing—you'll feel a whole lot better afterwards. Is there anything else I can do when ill? Not really - just eat well, get enough sleep and let time pass normally so that whatever

Why is it important to eat healthy foods when sick and for recovery time?

It's important for you to eat healthy foods anyway, however, when ill it's especially important because you need to keep your strength up in order for the body to fight whatever illness is present.

Make sure that you're eating enough calories (especially protein!) and try to avoid overloading on sugars or unhealthy fats since they will only make things worse if consumed excessively!  

Should I Drink Water or Have RedBull or Gatorade?

We would recommend water as a healthier option.

RedBull and Gatorade have added sugars that will only make you feel worse if consumed in excess so don't drink more than one can per day!

Having lots of water is always the best way to rehydrate - especially when ill since your body needs all of its energy reserves for fighting whatever illness it's trying to get rid of.

How does not eating/eating enough affect recovery time?

There isn't any evidence that suggests not eating or limiting how much you eat has an effect on speeding up recovery from being sick, however, there are studies suggesting people who restrict their caloric intake too much actually take longer to recover from a cold or flu.

Again, we are all different - so it is up to you whether or not this is something that would help with your recovery time.

How Does Sleep Affect Recovery Time?  

You should always get enough sleep anyway, however, when ill it's especially important because rest helps the body recuperate from whatever illness has brought on fatigue in the first place! 

This will vary between individuals - some people are able to recoup their energy by sleeping for a few hours while others require more extended periods of slumber.

However, studies have shown that those who aren't getting enough sleep due to illness take longer than usual for symptoms like fever and muscle aches to subside.

Wrapping Up

Should I exercise with a cold or the flu? It's up to you! But, if your symptoms are still present after working out and you're feeling tired, it might be best not to work out again until they lessen.

When is it safe to start exercising again after being sick? If all of your illness has gone away - no fever, sore throat, etc., then there isn't any reason why you can't start back up gradually over time in order to progress at your own pace without further complications arising.

How much rest should I take when sick and how does that affect recovery time?

You'll need as many energy reserves as possible while fighting off an infection so make sure that you're giving yourself enough rest by getting lots of sleep each night and eating as healthy as possible.

With any luck, this article has helped you understand the importance of rest, exercise, and healthy food when ill.

We hope that this article has been helpful for your understanding of what you can and can't do.

Is there anything you have found that helps you recover faster when sick or have you found that this article has helped your understanding of the topic?

We would love to hear from you so leave us a comment below!  

Previous article Why Don't I Recover From Exercise?