Weight Loss Support - Do you work out when you are sick?

04-13-2011, 08:49 PM
So...I have a cold going right now...had it for about a week and went to the gym today for the first time since i got sick. man, i had NUTHIN'! i did a half hour of cardio and i was exhausted. So how long (if at all) do you take off for an illness?? Unfortunately mine has now turned into this asthma/cough horridness that i know i will have for at least a month, but there is NO WAY i am waiting that long to get back into the gym! Am i making it worse by going though??

04-13-2011, 09:06 PM
I don't completely quit when I'm sick with a cold (flu is a different story). I just take it light. Like, instead of bouncing around at my max heart rate with a video, I'll do a super easy and short one. Or, take a nice walk at a clip I can handle. I'll do light weights or abs work with hand weights. That way I feel I'm keeping the routine and some semblance of working out, but I'm also giving my body the rest it needs.

04-13-2011, 09:48 PM
So sorry you're not feeling well shoeluver!! For me, if the sickness involves a really sore throat, congestion or anything that is affecting my breathing (ie. cold, sinus issues, strep throat), I definitely wouldn't go to the gym. I find it hard enough to breath during an intense cardio session when I'm not sick with a cold, so I can't imagine what it would be like trying to breath and work out when I'm so congested that I struggle to breath even while sleeping. I don't get colds very often though, but what I do get fairly frequently is ear infections (I've been prone to them ever since I was a kid), and I will still do a normal workout when I'm sick with an ear infection because I actually find that it can help to relieve some of the pressure and keep my mind off the pain. I doubt you are making it worse, but if the cough is really bugging you I can only imagine that any cardio is only going to make you feel more uncomfortable. I think a nice, long walk could be a good option though or anything else that's low-intensity like some basic yoga or strength training, that way you'd still get some activity but overall you'd be going easy on your body. I really hope you start to feel better soon!! Got lots of soup I hope?

04-13-2011, 10:07 PM
No, never. Being sick means my body needs rest. I lift weights 5x a week and do cardio too. I am fairly athletic - but I think part if it is listening to your body and allowing to heal. If it's just period cramps then sure, go ahead, but any virus/illness should be healed, IMO.

04-13-2011, 10:09 PM
You should never go to the gym when your sick. Keep that sickness at home!! I hope you feel better soon!

04-13-2011, 10:12 PM
I keep up my workouts when I have a cold, but when you get into breathing difficulty, fever and stomach problems it seems silly to put your body through extra stress.

04-13-2011, 10:19 PM
I just go for a nice walk and stuff like that. Nothing super strenuous. You can, but depending on how your body likes to respond to stuff like that, in can cause you to take longer to get over.

In our family, I can workout sick and it doesn't seem to matter either way BUT if my brother goes to the gym when he's not feeling well, he'll run a fever for several days after.

If you have chest congestion, make sure you are taking an expectorant (like Mucinex) to help clear that out of there. That stuff can set in and last forever, and for a long time I thought the key was to keep taking cold medicines, but in the past couple of years, I've learned that just helping your body get rid of it is important. It makes a WORLD of difference.

I learned that, btw, because my mom has asthma that requires a lot of treatment. Her specialist told her to start taking Mucinex everyday (that it was totally safe) and it has dramatically helped her get over the deep bronchial flus and colds that always want to settle into her chest.

04-14-2011, 11:08 AM
No, never. Being sick means my body needs rest. I lift weights 5x a week and do cardio too. I am fairly athletic - but I think part if it is listening to your body and allowing to heal. If it's just period cramps then sure, go ahead, but any virus/illness should be healed, IMO.

Agreed! I can't afford to make myself sicker or heal slower and miss more work, so I try to get back to normal asap.

04-14-2011, 11:28 AM
If I'm mildly ill, which means I can still survive walking around a bit, I try to do some very light exercise at the least so that my routine is not too upset. If you're very ill, rest yourself.

04-14-2011, 12:07 PM

I very rarely get sick, but when I do, it's rest that heals me the quickest. I might go for a walk with the dog, but that's the extent of exercise if I was sick.

If I heard somebody sniffling and coughing at the gym, I would stay AWAY from them, I would double wipe down the machine if I had to go on after them. The gym is already a massive hotbed for germs... adding a sick person to that mix is just a bad, bad idea.



I don't get allergies so I didn't think about that, but I wouldn't count that as "sick" and work out if I did. and yes, i always go to the gym if I am having my menstrual cramps. "Sick" in my head meant cold/flu/strep/fever....

04-14-2011, 12:13 PM
For me, "sick" is seasonal allergies which often turns into Bronchitis. If it's just allergies, heck yeah I go to the gym, and have miserably for the past two weeks! Once it's full blown Bronchitis, no, I get antibiotics and stay home until they kick in.

I've been doing what I can this week. Yesterday was pathetic, today I felt worse but somehow managed a great workout. When I woke up I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, my voice was awful and breathing made me cough. I ran anyway, hacked up a lung a few times, and then felt amazingly better afterwards. I think running actually cleared my lungs up; loosened all the gunk.

I know my allergies though...they're very predictable. I'm fighting bronchitis tooth and nail right now and I think I may be winning!

04-14-2011, 12:16 PM
I focus 100% on eating well, sleeping well and drinking lots of water and tea. Light yoga helps me relax though so I don't really consider that "working out."

04-14-2011, 12:24 PM
If it's my allergies, yes. If its a cold or the flu, no. I don't want to spread it around and I don't want to make it worse, because if I don't sleep a lot when I'm sick, it allllways gets worse...

If I'm projectile barfing like I was the whole first week of January, no. LOL. :D

Beach Patrol
04-14-2011, 03:08 PM
For me, it depends on the sickness.

For colds/flu, I will try to do as much of my workout as possible, depending on (a) whether or not I have fever, and (2) how much energy I have.

Any fever is a sign to rest - and work on getting that fever down.
And if I have NO energy to work out, if my body is DEMANDING rest, then that's what I do. I rest. I eat chicken noodle soup, drink orange juice & lots of water (must stay hydrated!) and just rest/rest/rest. I kick it a lot quicker that way.

If I'm at the middle or end of a cold/flu, then I do what I physically feel like doing & stop when I feel too tired.

If I have stomach issues (diarrhea, etc.) then I will usually do yoga because it is non-strenuous.

Cramps/headaches (likely cause: PMS)
Cramps: I go ahead & work out. Walking is very good for cramps. (But then, so is beer! ;) )
Headache: usually forgo a workout because any "rush of blood" to the head makes the headache worse.
Headache (migraine) - no, I do nothing but lay in the fetal position & beg for death's sweet release. :(

So in general, mostly I forgo my workout if I am sick. I try to listen to my body as much as possible & give it what it needs.

04-14-2011, 05:13 PM
Not surprisingly there has been some research done on this topic.

What it seems to show is that light bouts of exercise can have a slightly positive effect on boosting the immune system but too much causes a problem.

So if you want to exercise keep it light. I tend to keep it to brisk walking if anything.

04-14-2011, 05:33 PM
Thank you all SO much for your advice and well wishes!! I LOOOOVE the idea of doing pilates or yoga instead of cardio (at least til i can get my breathing normal again). Hopefully i will kick this cough soon and get back on that treadmill....THANK YOU!! :)

04-17-2011, 10:37 PM
When in doubt, trust your body. I find that the increased circulation from light exercise is good for fighting nasal congestion when all I have is a head cold (no working out with a fever!), but definitely don't overdo it.