While it’s common knowledge that working out can make you feel worse when you’re already ill, it may come as a surprise to know that in some cases, exercise can actually improve your symptoms and get you back to full health faster.
Before we continue we must state that we are not doctors so cannot give medical advice. We can, however, provide some information and suggestions that could help you to determine whether you are well enough to exercise.
Below are some advantages and disadvantages to exercising while you are feeling under the weather.
• Could clear congestion
• Improves mood
• Allows for a maintenance of fitness
• You could feel worse
• You could infect others
Knowing when to exercise and when to rest is a decision that should be made on a case by case basis while taking a few factors into account. Ask yourself the following questions if you’re struggling to decide whether you should be turning up to the studio when you’re unwell.
1) How Do You Feel?
Exercise encourages a chemical release of endorphins in the body which can promote a feeling of happiness and pleasure. If you feel just a little unwell or lethargic then exercise could have a positive effect on your mood and in turn, help you to feel better.
Conversely, if you feel awful and are struggling to perform everyday tasks such as taking a shower or getting ready for work, then it may be best to take a couple of days off exercise— and work for that matter!
2) Are Your Symptoms Above Or Below The Neck?
If you have symptoms of the common cold such as sneezing, coughing, and a runny nose, exercise can sometimes be beneficial in clearing congestion of the airways which could, in turn, promote faster recovery.
If you have a chesty cough on the other hand or sickness related to the chest and lungs, then exercise could exasperate your symptoms. In this situation, it may be better to avoid classes until you feel better.
This probably goes without saying, but never come to the studio if you are vomiting or have diarrhoea.
3) Are You Contagious?
While an assessment of how you feel is important when making the decision to exercise, the potential risk to others is also something to consider.
Air conditioning and heating in confined spaces create the ideal environment for germs to spread. If you are contagious it is possible that you will infect others, so in this case, it would be best for you to stay at home, put your feet up and keep your germs contained.
Top 3 Training Tips
If you do decide to go to the studio while you’re feeling unwell, there are a few things you can do to make your training sessions more comfortable and avoid spreading your germs.
• Choose low-intensity classes such as Ultimate Abs, TRX Launch, or Rock Bottom. If you are feeling congested you may struggle to breathe during cardio-based classes, stick to strength training until you feel better.
• Opt for 30-minute classes to reduce the chance of burning yourself out. This will also help you to keep a regular routine without overdoing it.
• Contain your germs by sneezing into tissues or your elbow. Use hand sanitiser before and after touching any equipment. Germs can spread quickly in communal spaces so by taking these precautions you can reduce the potential risk to others.
Above all, listen to your body. Weigh the risks against the benefits and make a decision based on which action will help you to feel better. If you are still unsure about whether you should be exercising when you are unwell, consult with your doctor.