Working Out When Sick


Well, it happened. After flying, driving, being on a cruise ship and out of town for a week, I have come down with a cold. I started feeling “yucky” Tuesday but forced myself to the gym anyway, where I felt awful and really didn’t want to be there. Usually when this happens, once I get going I am ok, but not this time. Then, this morning I woke up congested, with a pounding headache, and couldn’t taste anything. As hard as I try to stay germ free, they somehow found me and attacked.


Ah, boat, I guess being cooped up on you helped spread the germ love.

I am slightly frustrated because as it is I  missed my long run last weekend being out of town…and I have a half marathon coming up. Not cool. I decided to take the day off from exercise, which led me to think about working out and being sick, and if it’s ok or not, how much, etc.

There are a lot of factors that come into play, for instance the fact that I am training for a half marathon. If I wasn’t training for anything, I would be content to work from the couch and not worry about my missed sweat sessions. But with 18 days until my race and only a 6 miler under my belt since RnR New Orleans, I really need to get my rear in gear.


me and the lovely Karen at the RnR NOLA expo.

Here are a few simple rules I personally follow. Please remember, I am not a doctor, although that would be cool, right?

1.) If it’s in your chest, stay in bed. Going into a coughing fit every 24 seconds is not cool for you, or the people around you at the gym. If your cold is in your chest, it is better to rest to fight another day.

2.) If you have a fever, cool it. (no pun intended…well…maybe a little.) You don’t want to raise your internal body temp any higher than it already is, or you could get sicker.

3.) Do what you can. Pretty simple right? If you feel ok to go for a walk, but not a run, don’t try for a sprint workout. Even just a little bit of exercising might help you feel more accomplished and maybe even better, but don’t push yourself too hard.

4.) Listen to your body! It’s better to take a break so that you get well soon if you have something like the flu. Prolonging your symptoms and sidelining yourself longer is no fun.

5.) If it is in your head, and not your chest, but you just don’t feel like working out anyway…that’s ok!!! My cold is in my head, but guess what? I decided to just chill today and try again tomorrow. I don’t feel guilty about it, I know I need to rest and re-energize my body so I can be back to 100% as soon as possible.


Tips for lessening your cold symptoms:

1.) drink Emergen-c

2.) Drink lots of water

3.) rest when you need to do so

4.) take your vitamins

5.) wash your hands to help keep family members well

I want to elaborate a bit on number 2. The kind folks at zero water provided me with a filtered water pitcher to try out, and I absolutely love it. We drink a lot of water at our house, but I hate how even the “filtered” water out of the refrigerator doesn’t really truly purify the water. A lot of toxins enter your body via the water we bathe in and the water we drink, so I was really excited to try out the filter and I love it. it’s easy to use and the water “tastes” great. be sure to check out their website and Facebook page if you are interested in purchasing a filter.


QOTD: What are your rules for working out when sick?  Do you drink filtered water?

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17 Responses to Working Out When Sick

  1. 1
    MIZ says:

    Im such a rester. I learned the hard way when I keep pushing —- I break :-)
    Now that I’m a STOP WHEN SICK person I’ve not been sick in a while.
    Connection? Probably not :)

  2. 2

    ugh…dealing with this right now. i’ve been sick since monday and haven’t worked out since monday. trying to rest and recover quickly!

  3. 3
    Carrie says:

    Oh no – I hope you feel better soon!

  4. 4

    every time I’m sick I have the same debate – how sick am I, what kind, will it help or hurt

    I usually skip the workout if it’s just one or two days … but when it gets to skipping a week of workouts I always get frustrated :(

    feel better soon!

  5. 5
    Jen says:

    Oh NO! I hate that your sick :(

    I workout when I have a cold b/c I swear a good sweat session makes me feel better. I try to stay outdoors though to limit exposing myself to germs when my immune system is worn down.

  6. 6

    Being sick is the worst. but, your tips and tricks are spot on. I need to follow them more often!

  7. 7
    Amy Lauren says:

    Those are really good tips! I always heard if it was above the neck, you were good to work out, but I totally agree that sometimes it’s just better to take a sick day from working out just to be considerate. Sometimes gyms can be germy places, but a walk or a short run, stretching/yoga, or maybe a workout DVD would probably be okay.

  8. 8

    Ha! Yes, you’d be a cool doc. Great points to keep in mind–I know we all feel a little guilty not exercising when we are sick, but listening to our bodies is IMPORTANT!! GET BETTER!

  9. 9
    Becca says:

    The one thing I wish I was better at would be drinking more water. I drink lots of coffee and green tea but almost no water. I know how good it is for me, I know the health benefits but I just don’t do it.
    In regards to working out when sick I always try and listen to my body. I follow most of the rules you mentioned :)

  10. 10
    Tara Burner says:

    I drink filtered water daily…love my brita pitcher
    as far as working out when sick…i very seldom get sick
    though I do get massive migraines and will workout despite those but thats the stubborn defiant streak in me :)
    feel better!!!!

  11. 11
    Paulette says:

    I always want to run when sick, but it depends on how bad I feel. I follow your rule – if it’s in my head, I’ll give it a try. A lot of times I stick to the elliptical so it’s easier to breathe. Feel better soon!

  12. 12
    Ricole Runs says:

    Oh no!! Feel better soon!! I am obsessed with taking emergenc at any and all inklings of being sick and drink OJ!

  13. 13
    Vanessa says:

    I hope u r feeling better soon. I think when you are really sick, you should only do easy exercise. But if you have a fever= do nothing. I’m not the best about taking my advice though. I only drink filtered water. I’ve seen so many people just fill their water bottle with water from the faucett at the gym or from a water fountain. That’s gross to me! But, then again, growing up I did the same…and it didn’t make me sick.

  14. 14
    Tamara says:

    I always skip my *own* workouts when sick! And encourage my class participants to do the same so they don’t make the rest of us sick too!

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  15. 15

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