Should You Exercise When You’re Sick?

  January 13, 2016  |    Blog>Exercise


Growing up as athletic kids with an overprotective mom, we knew when to let her know when we were feeling sick and when not to.  After all, on one hand, if we were sick in her household, she was even more doting than ever.  She wanted us instantly better so we had a bell next to our bedside, and any time we rang it meant tons of love and attention, homemade soup, OJ… you name it. 🙂

But on the other hand, if she thought we were sick or heading that way, there was no sports practice, no splashing around in the chilly creek, etc., until we got better.  And even though she followed the golden rule–if you feel it in the neck and above, exercise is OK and if it’s below the neck, exercise is out, she still wondered if it would make us sicker if she allowed us to exercise even if we only felt it from the neck up. 

5 Steps to a Bullet Proof Immune System

Our clients frequently ask us this too.  So, should you work out if you’re feeling sick? After all, a light to moderate workout may  make you feel better…


Mom was right.  Use the “neck rule”: If your symptoms are above the neck (think sneezing, running or stuffy nose, sinus pressure, etc., then breaking a sweat is considered safe.

  • Even 20 minutes of exercise may make you feel better.  The key however, is to listen to your body–and realize that you may not be up for your typical level of exercise intensity.


  • Try speed walking for 20 minutes, which may make you feel better.  If your sinuses are clogged, exercise may open up your nasal passages and taking some deeper breaths from the exercise may be helpful, too.


  • Yoga increases blood flow and lowers anxiety.  If you feel fine jogging, it acts as a decongestant, too.


  • Skip endurance training or high intensity training.


  • If exercise makes you feel worse, stop.


Symptoms below the neck? If you have flu-like symptoms like body aches, nausea or vomiting or chest congestion and other symptoms, working out should be tabled and you should be chaired–or in the bed. 🙂



Remember, research shows that those who exercise regularly tend to get sick less frequently.  And exercising helps to boost immunity. (Just remember that exercising too much and too intensely can do just the opposite.).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *