Should You Exercise When Sick?

It’s that time of year. Everyone around you is getting sick. Again. Those who were once your family, friends and colleagues are now the enemy. They’ve become evil germ zombies come to destroy your gains and screw up your perfect rhythm of work and life. Like death and taxes, it happens to us all and despite your best efforts, you likely will get sick at some point in 2016. I am frequently asked whether working out will help or hurt when under the weather. So I’m sharing my go-to reference for deciding.

First things first. If you are contagious or think you may be contagious DON’T COME INTO THE GYM. Keep your *ss at home or better yet, go to the doctor. Yes, it may mean you miss a workout. It may mean disappointing your trainer or workout buddy. And it might even cost you some money if you miss a training session and there is a late cancel policy. Trust me. Karma is real. If you put yourself over the health, lives and livelihood of others, it will bite you in the butt.

Most trainers, myself included, will work with you on occasion to do a makeup session when you are better. My clients know I will not train them if they are sick and I would NEVER come near them if I knew I was sick. Got it? Golden rule stuff, folks.

So what do you do when you come down with a typical cold or flu? Should you rest, do some light cardio/stretching or hammer it out in the squat rack to squash those germs? Here is a great resource that explains how our immune system works and how it’s affected by exercise, the typical sickness lifecycle and if you should exercise and what type of exercise is recommended. When in doubt, check this article out from the folks at Precision Nutrition.