Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Fitness: Should I Exercise When I’m Sick?

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

exercising while sick, cold and fluMost people fall victim to mild colds or other bugs in the course of the year, making them second guess whether or not they can still exercise while being sick. Sometimes, when you are sick, you are not physically able to exercise, so the obvious choice is to stay home and rest. But what if you just have the sniffles or a pesky sore throat?

WebMD says that in most cases, practicing exercise restraint is the safest bet. It is a myth that exercising can sweat out toxins. Your immune system has the sole responsibility of fighting and protecting from illness.

Here are some situations in which to definitely avoid the gym:

  • If you are contagious. First and foremost, if you think there is any chance you could pass on an illness to other participants in your corporate fitness center, please stay home. Gym equipment is a major carrier of germs. Different sicknesses have varying lengths of contagion periods. A person with a very severe stomach virus can be contagious up to a week before he or she experiences symptoms and up to two weeks after recovery.
  • If the type of sickness will worsen with exercise. Respiratory infections can be aggravated by working out, especially by performing high-intensity cardio. Migraines, other headaches, or body aches can also worsen with the movement of exercise. Ask yourself whether there is a chance the exercise session will leave you worse off than before.
  • If your symptoms are below the neck. In one of my Exercise Science courses, we were taught that if symptoms were only above the neck and no fever was present, a person might be fine to continue working out, but at a lighter level. However, symptoms from the neck down, for instance nausea or stomach pain, can worsen with exercise.

When you do resume exercise after being sick, start light and build your way back to the level you were previously at. The good news is that a boosted immune system is a well-known benefit of a regular exercise routine, so encourage your corporate wellness participants to keep moving while they are healthy!


Topics: exercise at work exercise exercise at home