By: Tara Sabo
Published: February 2017
Doesn’t it feel like everyone is sick? Germs are floating around like snowflakes, landing on every surface and infecting us with illnesses that won’t go away. No one likes to get sick.It’s disruptive. And nowhere is this more evident than at the gym. It can be really hard to exercise effectively when you are sick. But, is it safe to exercise when you are sick?
First and foremost, you need to honor your body. It speaks loudly! Rest is often the best medicine, but consulting with your physician will tell you otherwise—and you should always listen to your physician. You should change your health goals, too. When you are sick, your first goal should always be to get better. Your weight loss or long distance training goals can wait. Setting them aside for a few days will not diminish the progress you’ve made. Instead, it will give your body the time in needs to heal. Exercise ignites a stress response
in the body. This isn’t always a bad thing when you’re in good health. But when you’re down, it can be counterintuitive to progress and it can hinder your ability to get better.
Letting your body rest ultimately preps it to push hard when it’s back on top again. Remember, too, that your immune system is working overtime when you are sick. This makes you susceptible to even more unwanted germs. And hitting the gym will undoubtedly expose you to them. Plus, it will expose others to the germs that you carry. Do your part to stop the spread of unwanted germs! That said, there’s a tiny bit of grey area.
Some illnesses are worse than others, and some are quite manageable. When you’re lucky enough to catch a manageable illness that doesn’t knock you down for days, you might be well enough to keep up your fitness routine. But if you can answer “yes” to any of the following, then you might want to stick with the “stay home” plan:
• Do you have a fever?
• Is your chest congested?
• Are you having gastrointestinal issues?
• Does your body ache?
• Do you feel more fatigued than usual?
• Are you having strong headaches?
These are all signs that your body is fighting something strong. Give it time to fight. Give it time to heal. Remember, you need to honor your body. Respect it, too. It’s the only one you’ve got. Please remember that, although I am a certified fitness professional, I am not a physician. If you are sick and unsure of whether or not you should be exercising, you should absolutely reach out to your physician.