Want To Work Out While You Are Sick? Know How Good Or Bad It Can Be

Exercise can help strengthen the immune system to fight off illness, but once you are already ill, is it safe?

 Onlymyhealth Staff Writer
MiscellaneousWritten by: Onlymyhealth Staff WriterPublished at: Jan 16, 2020Updated at: Jan 16, 2020
Want To Work Out While You Are Sick? Know How Good Or Bad It Can Be

Exercising regularly is an excellent way to keep yourself fit and free of disease. Working out or exercising is said to decrease the risks of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, it is not always advised to exercise once you are already suffering from some illness. But there are some cases when light- to moderate-intensity activity may help you feel better. Precisely, your speedy recovery is always the goal when you are ill. And it can be hard to know when it’s ok to power through with your regular exercise routine and when it’s best to take a few days off.


According to some experts, if you are only experiencing symptoms that are above your neck, such as an earache, stuffy nose and sneezing, then you’re probably ok to engage in exercise. Still, if it comes down to the chest and other parts of the body, you should consider your health before going out, even for a walk. Now, let’s look at some of the diseases during which exercising can be fine and some diseases, which demand complete rest: 

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Diseases which are not affected

  • Mild Cold: It is a disease caused through viral infection of the nose and throat. Typical symptoms are stuffy nose, headache, sneezing and mild cough. It is considered ok to exercise if you have a slight cold, but you will likely be transferring this disease to others as if you sneeze, you might end up spreading a lot of germs.


  • Stuffy Nose: A stuffy nose can be irritating and uncomfortable. If it’s just that, no problem you can still hit the gym. But if the case is different and this is associated with productive cough and chest congestion, you should surely consider some time off!
  • Earache: As the name suggests, It’s a pain-related with ears. It is generally caused due to sinus infection, sore throat, toothache or changes in environmental pressure. Although, if the pain is bearable, one should skip his/her exercise session.
  • Mild sore throat: This kind of disease is caused by a viral infection of common cold or flu. Working out is likely safe if you are adequately hydrated.

Diseases which are affected

  • Stomach Bug/ Ache: If you are going through something like this, do not consider working out. Illness in the digestive system can cause nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach cramps and other pain in the body while working out. So if you are feeling restless, light stretching or yoga might be the best option.
  • Fever: During fever, our body temperature rises above the average range, which is around 98.6°C. Fever can cause unbearable symptoms like weakness, dehydration, muscle aches and sometimes loss of appetite. Working out in this condition is certainly not a good idea as it can lead to dehydration and your fever can become worse.


  • Frequent Cough: Cough is a normal response to irritants or fluids which enter into the body airways, making the body free of unwanted germs. Persistent coughing can be a symptom of a respiratory infection like a cold, flu or pneumonia. Going to the gym when you cough, you’re putting fellow gym-mates at risk of being exposed to your germs.
  • Flu: Flu causes symptoms like chills, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, cough, headache, congestion and fever. Flu can be dangerous not only for you but for the people around you too as flu is a highly contagious virus that is spread through tiny droplets. People with the flu release toxic virus into the air when they talk or sneeze. Working out is strictly prohibited as there is a chance of dehydration too.

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Bottom line

When you are experiencing symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, fever or productive cough, it’s better to give rest to your body and give it some time off the gym to recover. Although, if you caught a mild cold or some nasal congestion, there’s no need to stop working out.

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