>U Mom Knows Best: Is It OK To Exercise When I Am Feeling Sick?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Is It OK To Exercise When I Am Feeling Sick?

Is working out when I am feeling sick good or bad?



 So the past month has brought sickness to our house. First, my older son had the flu for a couple of days, followed by a week of a sore throat and a cough. Then 2 weeks later my husband comes down with the flu followed by two weeks of a bad cough. Then, four days after my husband came down with the flu, I developed a cough. The ironic thing is, my family all received the flu shot. So much for the flu shot working this year. This year the cold viruses have been strong as I never sick. I am the one who cares for my sick kids and never catches their germs. I am known to take all the proper precautions like following these handwashing tips and not sleeping in the same room when my husband is sick.

 I even use plenty of natural products that help prevent colds and flu but I guess I could not escape the airborne germs that my husband had spewed into the air. No amount of homemade black elderberry syrup and vitamin C helped me this cold season. Maybe I caught the cold germs from my husband the day before he showed any symptoms.



  I came home Monday night, from a night out with the girls, only to find my husband sick on the couch. I sent him to bed and I slept downstairs. The next day, I told him to stay upstairs but he did not listen. He came downstairs and sat on the couch next to me and coughed. Did you know that cold viruses can travel up to 6 feet? Then on Friday, I started feeling sick. I at first thought that I had ingested some food that I am allergic to. I felt better the next day but two days later, my throat was sore and I had a bad cough. So maybe I picked up the cold germs while I was out shopping as I did have an open sore on my thumb. Oh, how I hate being sick.

Cold & Flu Honey Lemon Ginger Tea is great for colds

So that made me start thinking, is it ok for me to exercise when I am sick? 

  I think the answer to this question may really depend on what type of sickness you are experiencing and how severe the symptoms are. When your body is sick, sometimes rest is good and other times exercise may help your body get well faster. I think it may also depend on how you are feeling and if you could be contagious.



Types of sickness that you should take a break from exercise

Fever: If you have a fever then it is best to let your body rest and that means take a break from exercise. A fever is your body's way of fighting cold germs and most of the time you feel miserable. So exercise will just make you feel even worse. So lay on the couch and let your body rest. Also when you have a fever, you are most likely contagious so please stay away from the gym so others will not get sick.

Stomach problems: If you are barfing or have diarrhea then it is a good idea to take a break from exercise. Again your body needs the rest and you may be contagious.

Flu: The flu can make you feel miserable and you most likely have body aches. Your body can recover faster from the flu if you let it rest. So exercise is not a good thing. When you have the flu you are contagious so please stay home so others do not catch your germs.

Bad cough: Exercising with a cough that lingers after you are no longer contagious is ok but for a severe cough that leaves you gasping for air, it may be best to skip the exercise. Also if you have asthma and have a cough from a cold, then it may also be better to listen to your body and take it easy with exercise.

I learned the hard way that exercise does not help when you have a cough and asthma. 

  I woke up with a sore throat and a cough that day. I did not have a fever and my throat was sore from all the coughing. So I decided to skip my morning run that day. I told myself that I would see how I felt later that day and then decide to go for a walk in the afternoon. Later that day, my cough was better but I was ok with taking a day off from exercise. The problem was I did not have a choice as I had to pick up my son from school and my husband had the car. So I had to walk 2 miles to my son's school. By the time I got to my son's school, I was having trouble breathing and I was coughing more.  Exercise has been shown to benefit those with asthma but not when you are sick.

 People with asthma have sensitive lungs and a cold can make their lungs more sensitive. So when I got home, I drank several cups of my Cold & Flu Honey Lemon Ginger Tea to help soothe my lungs. This tea also helped me expel all the excess mucus so I could breathe better. My type of asthma is caused by mucus build up in my lungs. Many things can trigger my body to produce excess mucus, like my dairy allergy or chemical scents to name some of them. A cold can make your body produce mucus so my body was in mucus over-drive.




Types of sickness that it is ok to exercise

Headache: If your head hurts then exercise might make it feel better. Just listen to your body. If you start working out and your head feels worse then stop the exercise.

Cough: Many times after you have a cold, you have a lingering cough that can last up to 2 weeks. If you no longer have a fever and your lungs don't hurt when you cough, then exercise is ok. Just make sure to cover your mouth when you cough, if you are at the gym. That way others don't get your germs. This may also be a good time for a walk outside as fresh air is always good. Exercise can help your body loosen all the gunk that is in your body from the cold and may also help your body heal faster.

Stomach ache: If your stomach ache is minor and no body fluids are coming out then exercise might help. That stomach problem may be gas or you may be constipated. So exercise may help your stomach feel better.

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If that stomach ache or constipation is a frequent problem then adding more fiber to your diet may help. You need to check out this recipe for some amazing fiber bars that keep my stomach happy.

Drippy nose: That drippy nose may be a lingering side effect from your cold or it may just be allergies. If the stuff that is coming out of your nose is a clear color, then exercise is ok. Exercise may help thin the mucus that is coming out of your nose.

 Sweating can also help your body recover faster from a cold as sweating is healthy. Sometimes a light workout can help you feel better when you are feeling sick. Sickness can make you feel tired and lying in bed can make things worse. A light walk or stretching can do wonders and also help your body expel all that mucus from your body along with plenty of water. Yoga is also great for a light workout and you can do yoga at home. Now is not the time to do a strenuous workout as that can make you feel worse. So listen to your body and slow down. Also, make sure not to share those cold germs with others if you choose to visit the gym. Bring with a small towel so you can cough into that and use the sanitizing wipes on the machine after you exercise.


 I think the thing to remember when deciding whether to exercise also depends on how you feel. If you feel miserable and the sickness has left you feeling overly tired, then it might be better to not exercise that day. Your body is telling you that it needs rest and sometimes exercise may make your illness worse. It is ok to take a break from exercise so don't feel guilty or worry about your weight. You should have tossed that scale long ago our bodies are so much more than a number! Your health is more important while your body is sick. Once you feel better, you can get back to exercise. So be kind to your body and take a break from exercise if you feel sick and miserable. A day or two of rest may make it easier for your body to recover from that cold. A much needed sick break might just be what the doctor ordered. It is ok to take a break from exercise.





26 comments:

  1. just discover this site from somewhere. great sharing story & experiences. i will recommend this site to my friends out there.

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  2. My husband swears by working out when he's sick. He says it helps him feel better. Me, even if I'm sick, I just want to relax. You're right in saying that sometimes it's your body letting you know to take a day off.

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  3. I think so. I find it helps at times. Now if I'm weak, no, but I had a cold a while back and I still jogged. I found I got better faster.

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  4. My husband has asthma and he's really struggling to find exercise that he can do that doesn't cause him to flair up. Its been a really big struggle and I feel absolutely awful for him.

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    1. I remember when my asthma was bad and it was hard to workout. Most days I just went for a walk with plenty of breaks

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  5. If I am under the weather, I tend to take walks instead of full on exercising. The air helps and at least I am moving. And I love honey ginger lemon tea!

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  6. YEP!!! I always workout even when I am sick. As difficult as this might be, it actually helps as u mentioned.

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  7. I can tolerate moderate exercise with moderate sickness. However, I think the last thing I would be thinking about is working out if I had the flu. No thanks!

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  8. I've been there before. I have been so sick before that it was not in my best interest to attempt to workout. When I'm mildly ill, a nice walk outside is beneficial and sufficient to me.

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  9. I rarely want to do anything when I'm sick. I can't imagine wanting to exercise.

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    1. I did not workout yesterday as I was tired from not being able to breathe that well. I work up this am with a cough but felt better. The exercise helped me clear my congestion so I was able to get some deep breaths in.

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  10. I have actually always started feeling better if I continue to do workouts while I'm sick. I won't if it's really bad, but I most likely still will if I'm not feeling to terrible. I think it's great to help while you're sick honestly.

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  11. This is such a super important topic to share! Love the suggestions and tips.

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  12. I think it depends a lot on your body too. My mom is the worse at taking time to rest. She'll still try to exercise when she's sick and it only makes it worse!

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  13. This is a very helpful post to share! I am sure those who like to exericse just as much as I like to work would need some guidance on when it's safe.

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  14. I tend to practice self-care when not feeling well and listen to my body. Things like aches and pains can benefit from movement, stretching and exercise but flus and colds and I'm resting with a nice cup of tea.

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  15. All I want to do when I am sick is to lay in bed and have ginger tea. Unless there is a fire, I am not getting out of bed. Haha. My niece would go to the gym even if she has a cold! I told her that if she doesn't want to get more sick, she should at least be concerned about the people in the gym that might catch her cold too.

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  16. This is a good question. I often try to do something anyway, but sometimes I just avoid it and I feel almost guilty ... your blog post has elucidated me many doubts and uncertainties.

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  17. I tend to workout even if I'm sick. Since kayaking is my workout of choice, I have found that the fresh air almost always makes me feel a little better. The only time I don't workout when I'm sick is if I'm too weak or lighthead as being out on the open water and being weak and lightheaded is a bad combo.

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  18. i don't know how to rest. Eevn with severe backache and headache i just need to work. Also I have a high energy Indian mountain wolf pup. So no rest for the weary here. He needs his exercise. :)

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  19. Some things are okay to work out with, i.e period pain etc. In fact exercise can actually help period cramps. However when it comes to fevers etc I would just play it safe and rest.

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  20. Definitely listen to your body. I usually don't like doing anything when I'm sick and prefer to rest.

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  21. I always have the doubt whether to workout when Im sick, You helped me to understand better about it!

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  22. I have just developed asthma in the last few years and it makes it hard to exercise in cold weather.

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  23. When I am mentally tired I like to exercise.It boost my energy and I can come back to normal very soon.However I don't exercise when I am down with flu,fever or similar conditions.This article is a great reminder with advice.

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  24. Well, personally I take a good rest when I am not feeling well. I guess it's a case to case basis. Sometimes laziness can be a sickness too and the only medicine is to get things going.

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