Can You Exercise When You’re Sick? Insights from Trainers and Recommended Workouts

Whether it's because we've made progress on our fitness journey, or we're simply addicted to the sweat, it can be challenging to give up on exercise when you're sick.

We’ve all been there: we’ve started feeling under the weather, yet we’re still determined to work out. Whether it’s because we’ve made progress on our fitness journey, or we’re simply addicted to the sweat, it can be challenging to give up on exercise when you’re sick.

But here’s the question: should you work out when you’re sick? The truth is, it depends on a lot of factors, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. We explore the signals our bodies send when we’re feeling sick and when it’s time to take a break. Plus, trainers share exercise suggestions to try when you’re not feeling your best.

Guidelines to Exercise When You’re Sick

First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that getting sick is your body’s way of telling you that it needs some rest. Your immune system is working overtime to fight off whatever is ailing you, and adding a rigorous workout to the mix can put your body in a tough spot

But if you feel like you’re up for it, there are some general guidelines to follow. If your symptoms are “above the neck” (such as a runny nose or sore throat), light exercise like walking or yoga can actually help you feel better. However, if your symptoms are “below the neck” (such as chest congestion or a fever), it’s best to hold off on any physical activity until you’ve recovered.

Listen to Your Body

That being said, trainers often advocate for a “listen to your body” approach. If you’re feeling up for it, there’s no harm in trying a workout and seeing how your body responds. But be mindful of how you feel during the workout and throughout the day afterwards. If you feel like you’re pushing yourself too hard, it may be best to take a break. Your body may thank you in the long run if you rest now, rather than prolonging your recovery time.

Gentle Yoga

So if you’ve decided to do a light workout while you’re feeling under the weather, what are some suggested exercises? One popular option is to do a gentle yoga flow or stretching routine. This can help with circulation and get your blood flowing without putting too much strain on your body. Similarly, a walk or light jog outside can provide fresh air and sunlight, which can boost your mood and immune system. If you’re recovering from a respiratory illness, try some deep breathing exercises or a guided meditation to help your body relax and recover.

Low-Impact Strength Training

Another option is to try some low-impact strength training exercises, such as bodyweight squats or push-ups. These can help maintain your muscle mass without putting too much pressure on your joints. Similarly, using resistance bands or light weights can provide a bit of extra challenge without causing too much strain on your body. Ultimately, it’s about finding what works for you and your body during this time.

The decision to exercise when you’re sick depends on a variety of factors, including the type and severity of your symptoms, and your body’s overall reaction to exercise. Remember, it’s always okay to take a break and prioritize rest and recovery when your body needs it most.

Fitness Health


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