Can You Work Out While You're Sick?

December 30, 2023

We've all been there – the sniffles, a sore throat, or a general feeling of fatigue. Getting sick can have a major impact on your daily routine, especially if you're someone who prioritizes regular exercise. Exercise can help build your immunity which brings up a valid debate: should you hit the gym or take a rest day when you're under the weather? 

Understanding the Spectrum of Illness

Not all illnesses are created equally, and the decision to work out while sick largely depends on the nature and severity of your symptoms. In some cases, you might be dealing with a mild cold with symptoms such as a runny nose or congestion. In the case of mild illnesses with symptoms that don’t cause significant discomfort or impact your lungs, moderate exercise can actually be beneficial! Physical activity has been proven to give your immune system a boost and improve your mood, though it's crucial to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard.

It is important to take note of your symptoms before you consider exercising while sick. In many cases, your body needs rest to focus on fighting off an infection. This means that exercising may exacerbate your symptoms if you're grappling with more serious conditions such as the flu, a high fever, or any illness that affects your respiratory system. In the case of severe illness, it's wise to prioritize rest and recovery. Exerting yourself when your body is already fighting off an infection can lead to prolonged illness and potential complications in your healing process.

Exercise Intensity and Duration

Even if you're dealing with a mild illness, the intensity and duration of your typical workout routine should be adjusted. High-intensity workouts, such as intense cardio sessions or heavy weightlifting, can cause extra stress to your body which can prolong even a mild illness. If you’re craving a workout, consider opting for low to moderate-intensity exercises like walking, light jogging, or gentle yoga during the initial stages of sickness. Shorter durations can also be beneficial, allowing your body to recover without being overly strained.

Listen to Your Body

Listening to your body is the most crucial factor when deciding whether to work out while you’re sick. Your body will tell you what it needs and it is important not to push the boundaries to allow yourself to heal. If you're feeling tired, dizzy, or experiencing pain beyond typical muscle soreness, it's a signal to rest. Pushing through these warning signs can be dangerous and lead to more severe health issues.

Additionally, consider how your illness affects others. Exercising in a shared space, such as a gym, may expose others to germs, potentially spreading the illness. Many viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces for days after you come in contact with them, so even if you’re not outwardly coughing near others, you can still spread illness. Be mindful of your symptoms and, if possible, choose outdoor or home workouts to minimize the risk of getting others sick.

Visit AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch For Rapid Illness Care Available On A Walk-In Basis

When you’re experiencing illness symptoms and trying to determine how to promote a rapid recovery, seeking medical care early is critical. Using diagnostic testing, the medical providers at AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch can quickly identify the exact source of your symptoms and suggest a treatment and care plan accordingly. For same-day illness care simply walk-into our clinic or schedule an appointment online.

At AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch, our medical providers are board-certified and can expertly diagnose your symptoms using our on-site laboratory. Based on the results, your healthcare provider will provide the available treatment options based on your exact symptoms. Our clinic is conveniently located in West Long Branch, NJ, and open 7 days a week with extended business hours. We accept most major medical insurance plans and offer affordable care options. Simply walk in today for same-day illness care. For additional information regarding our clinic, contact us directly by calling 732-222-8000.

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