Exercising Under The Weather


Edited by: ARYA ROERIG

Pass the Chicken Soup because the long days of nose dripping, head pounding misery have arrived. You’ve caught a cold. You’re reluctant to sacrifice your workout at the gym but the idea of running a treadmill is making you dizzy. Should you head to a workout or spend the day under the covers, with tea and tissues locked and loaded?

The first rule of thumb is to listen to your body. You may be tired, achy or just plugged up. While many think that maintaining their exercise routine while sick will help, overdoing and further exhausting your body can actually delay your recovery and exacerbate your illness.
“Your body likely needs rehydration and rest to tackle whatever infection may be present (viral or bacteria), and work on rebuilding your immunity,” says Physician Lynne Kendig.
There may be many factors to consider before making your decision.

“The Neck Check”

You may have heard of this one. Many doctors and trainers recommend completing a “Neck Check” before deciding whether or not to exercise. Simply put, if you’re experiencing symptoms above the neck, usual cold-like symptoms (runny nose, headaches, mild sore throat and nasal congestion) it is fine to work out.

If your symptoms however are below the neck, such as an upset stomach, chest congestion or nausea, you should stay home and rest. Additionally, if you have a fever, working out should be avoided altogether.


If you do decide to exercise, reduce the intensity as well as the length of your workout. Your body is not able to preform at its peak and injury can become a risk. Instead of heading to your Zumba class, try an hour of Yoga. Yoga can help to alleviate symptoms such as aches, pains and headaches. Swimming indoors is also a great low-intensity exercise. The heat and humidity of the pool can help release nasal congestion and keep passageways clear.
“I recommended starting with walking and mild stretches for exercise,” says Dr. Kendig. “You would want to do a shorter workout, and give yourself plenty of time to build back up to your previous exercise routine.”


Choosing to take a break is always a safe bet. Do not be discouraged by a few days of rest. You will still be able to achieve your fitness goals and get back to working out in no time. It can be a great time to catch up on sleep, watch endless episodes of Friends, or start that book you haven’t had time for. Take care of yourself. Remember to also check with your doctor before working out again, if you have a more serious illness or symptoms below the neck.

No one likes to get sick or be around those who are. Therefore, getting into the routine of washing your hands, getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet are helpful precautions to staying healthy and fit.


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