You just started a new exercise routine and rarely missed out on your workout sessions. But then suddenly, you were derailed by the onset of a nasty flu.  So what will you do? Will you just skip your exercises and sit them down first while waiting for your body aches to pass?

Is it okay to exercise while you’re sick?

Well, there’s no exact answer because you decision should be based on what ails you. For example, it’s still okay to exercise if you’re nursing a cold, but if you’re also having a fever, then going to the gym should be skipped.

It is because fever can be such a limiting factor. If one is to exercise with their body temperatures already in the high, then they might risk getting sicker. Doctors recommend people to forego exercising once their fever hits above 101 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another rule of thumb which can be applied as to exercising whilst sick is to “only do what you can”. People’s tolerance to sickness and overall stamina varies. Some people claim that they feel worse if they skip a day’s exercise, but if you’re suffering already from a bad case of fever and flu, then there’s a good chance that you won’t even be able to lift your head off your pillow, let alone run for a few miles.

If you have some minor cough and can generally breathe okay and don’t feel sick after taking a few medications, then it’s okay to continue working out. However, if you’re chest is already starting to tighten and can’t breathe well, then exercising is no longer a go.

People should know their physical limits and should learn to listen to body cues. If you’re already feeling kind of unwell, instead of continuing a fast-paced run, opt to slow down a bit and just walk. Lessen the intensity of your workouts and temporarily switch to regenerate activities like pilates and yoga, because if you’re feeling under the weather, then it might not be the best day to do continue with your sprints and regular exercise grind.

To check the level of any respiratory illness, one way is to examine the individual’s neck.  If your existing symptoms are all above the neck area such as nasal congestion, sore throat, lots of sneezing and tearing of the eyes, then you should still be okay for exercise. But if your symptoms are below the neck like incessant coughing, fatigue, fever and body aches, then it’s better for you to rest for a bit and wait for the symptoms to pass.

How long must you wait before getting back to your routine?

A common old in an adult minus any complications generally subsides within 7 days.  A complicated flu that develops into bronchitis or sinusitis requires a longer healing period which is roughly two weeks.  Remember that presenting symptoms of flu and cough can linger in the body system if not treated or medicated as soon as possible. Flu in general, even in its uncomplicated state can easily leave you feeling ill for about 10 days.

Prevention is still the key

Again, the best way to treat a problem is to avoid getting it in the first place. So make sure to take care of your body and be careful not to over-stress it. Eat healthy, keep moving and basically maintain good lifestyle choices.  And when you choose to exercise in a gym in the presence of a cold, and then be conscientious enough to prevent the spread of germs by doing frequent hand washing and trying your best not to blow your nose constantly.

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