Winter chills and ills – To work out or not to work out?

Winter chills and ills – To work out or not to work out?

So you’ve picked up a bug or something, and you’re not feeling that flash, but you still want to exercise? How do you know whether it’s a good idea or not?

RecCentre workout

There are a number of things that concern people when making this decision. First of all, if you rest until you’re fully recovered, you may risk losing some strength and fitness benefits. The short term ‘feel good’ factor of exercising is tempting, but if you work out whilst you’re sick, the quality of your workout is not likely to be as good and you may well prolong your sickness or make it worse. Also, think about those around you – no-one likes a constant sniffer in their yoga class, sneezers and runny noses on shared equipment, or to catch your bug!

Various websites (Livestrong.Com, and Mayo Clinic for example) all point to a similar philosophy.

  • Exercise is usually okay if your symptoms are all ‘above the neck’. A common cold, minor sore throat and so forth. If this is you, then consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout. Go for a walk for fresh air and movement, rather than a heavy gym session or hill run. You don’t want to make things worse!
  • If your symptoms are ‘below the neck’ such as chest congestion, hacking cough, stomach troubles, fever, fatigue or widespread body aches, then definitely don’t exercise. Stay home, stay warm, rest up and see your doctor!

My mother always used to say if you’re well enough to go to sport practice, you’re well enough to go to school. Fair call. So, if you don’t feel up to socialising, studying or going to work, then it’s a pretty reasonable assumption you’re not well enough to exercise either.

Ultimately, your body is your guide. If you feel miserable, take a break, rest up and drink plenty of fluids. A few days off won’t do much to your performance. Resume your workout gradually, starting with low intensity and celebrate the small stuff.

Stay well!