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Skipping a Workout? Know When Rest is Best

Are you feeling sick and wondering when you should start working out again? Find out when it’s ok to be active with these exercise tips for colds and more.

December 18, 2018 | HF Healthy Living Team

Whether you’re overwhelmed with allergies or have a cold or another illness, you may be wondering if you should be active and what you could do. We’re here to help you decide what’s best for you when you’re feeling sick.

When It’s OK to Exercise

It’s ok to exercise if you have a common cold. If you have any of the symptoms below, don’t hesitate to keep moving:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Minor sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Allergies

Exercise can be a type of medicine because it can help to boost your immune system, and much more. Sticking to a workout can also help to relieve minor cold symptoms by relieving congestion as well.

When You Should Rest

There are times when it’s ok to exercise when sick, but it’s important to know when to rest too. If you have any of the symptoms below, be sure to rest for a few days before exercising.

  • Chest congestion
  • Flu-like symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Common cold combined with a heart condition or asthma

A good rule of thumb is to skip exercising if your symptoms are below your neck. Do not try to sweat out a fever; resting and fluids should be your go-to for that. If your symptoms get worse and continue for more than five to seven days, you should think about making an appointment with your provider.

Keep Your Exercise Simple

Yoga Exercises
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Many people think you need to overexert yourself to get in a good exercise session, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you’re feeling under the weather, try to keep your workout simple.

Skipping the gym when you’re sick will also help you avoid unnecessary germs from those working out around you. Try one of the activities below instead of heading to the gym when you’re sick.

  • Try some stretching or yoga
  • Go for a walk or a light jog
  • Experiment with some balance exercises for better health
  • Skip weight training and try tai chi or qigong (energy arts)
  • Stay indoors, especially with allergies; try swimming or an online class

Everyone will be different with what works best, depending on symptoms and preferences, so try your best to do something that feels right for you. Don’t push yourself too much when you’re feeling ill, because you could wind up injuring yourself further.

Interested in the power of exercise? Watch how regular physical activity can help to improve brain health now.


© 2018 HF Management Services, LLC

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

“Is it OK to exercise if I have a cold?,” Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 19, 2017.


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