There has been some nasty stuff going around this cold and flu season. Stuff that really knocked people down and out for a long time! Last year I came down with a couple of nasty colds and lost my voice twice! That wasn’t very much fun. So far this season I’ve gotten lucky and I’ve managed to avoid it. Until now maybe??
I mentioned that on the day of my long run I woke up with a sore throat. I don’t feel absolutely awful now but I definitely don’t feel 100% either and I had an 80 minute spin to do on Sunday. Off course the age old question is, do you work out when you are feeling sick?
I think if you ask 10 people what to do you’ll get a 50/50 split on whether you should work out or not.
So what are the general thoughts about working out when you don’t feel well?
- Do you have a fever? If so, then it is definitely time to rest. If you are at all contagious then stay away from the gym. Your fellow gym goers will appreciate it!
- The general rule of thumb is that if you feel sick above the neck it is okay to workout. Below the neck (i.e. with a hacking cough, chest congestion) means you should rest.
- There is no such thing as sweating out toxins.
- Does working out while sick prolong your cold? I think that depends on the level of intensity you work out at. Apparently thoughts are that low to moderate intensity may help to reduce the time you are sick? I don’t know if I fully believe that, but it may help you feel a bit better while you are sick. I know I definitely felt better on my long run on Saturday. If you work out at a really high intensity then you may be compromising your body’s immune system to fight things off and you may stay sicker for longer.
- If you do work out, then make sure to hydrate really well! A snotty, drippy nose means you are losing fluids so make sure to drink up! And be aware that if you’ve taken some kind of an antihistamine that it may have dried you out even more.
At the end of the day though all the research can tell you it is okay to workout, but if you feel like taking a rest day then listen to your body. For me I opted to rest. The spin wasn’t my most key workout. Getting my runs in to get ready for the BMO Vancouver Half is my priority for the short term. I’m hoping that taking the time off means I’ll kick whatever this thing is ASAP. I’ve been making sure to hydrate and I’ll definitely be calling it a night early for a bit too.
What are your thoughts on working out while sick? Would you push through or take a rest day right away?
I tend to workout when I am sick if I feel ok. If I have a fever or I am vomiting then of course not. But a sore throat or running nose wont keep me from running. Although If I feel really tired then sometimes I wont workout. Just depends.
I used to always push right through, but learned a couple years ago that sometimes your body needs rest. I take into account my level of fatigue as well. If I’m super fatigued, it’s a good sign it’s time to rest. Given my recent diagnosis, I will be resting for at least the next 3-5 days. Boo. I heard a piece of advice once… it was that it is better to toe the starting line slightly undertrained then overtrained. This made me feel a little more confident about missing training time and I would try and minimize the amount of quality sessions that I missed.
Nikki Scott says
If I’m sick enough that I’m achy and generally not feeling up to doing day-to-day stuff then no I don’t work out. A runny nose, a few sniffles or a little cough and I do. As long as my body feels good I still try to go but take it easy on myself…
I usually try it, see how it goes and make my decision from there.
If I’m under the weather I take a day to rest and see what comes from it. Lots of tea and R&R.
Typically I lace up and head out the door and tell myself that if after 10 minutes I really am too sick too be out there I bag it. However, there have definitely been days when I KNOW going forward will only make things worse down the road. I think everyone knows their own bodies best (or we hope we do) and regardless of what the science says you gotta listen to your own body.
I have a hard time taking a day of rest and know I work out when I shouldn’t.