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Have you been struck down by the common cold or the flu? It can be annoying to feel the effects of sickness at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to keep up with a new exercise regime. 

Many people ask whether it is safe or healthy to continue working out when you have the flu or a cold. Because everyone is affected differently by illness, it’s important to consider how you feel personally and use this information as a general guide. If in doubt, talk to your doctor about resuming exercise. 

Reduce the intensity

Depending on your personal health and the way your illness is making you feel, you may want to reduce the intensity of your workouts until you are feeling better. If you have mild bronchitis without a fever or a cough, or a common cold, you may find that you are able to continue with your normal exercise regime. 

If you’re feeling a little more under the weather, reduce the impact of your exercise until you are feeling better. If after your workout you feel exhausted (more so than usual) take a longer break and perhaps skip the next day to allow extra recovery time. 

Wait until you have no fever

If you are experiencing a fever with your flu, it’s generally recommended to wait until your fever has resolved before resuming any kind of exercise. Your flu or illness may give you a fever, sore and aching muscles and fatigue, so it’s best to wait until these symptoms have passed before working out again. 

Listen to your body

If you’re starting to feel a bit better and you’ve started exercising again, remember to listen to your body and how it reacts to the workout. You might be feeling better, but your body may not be. 

It’s always best to give your body time and reintroduce exercise at a slow and steady pace. You probably want to get back into it as quickly as possible, but this may only lead to unnecessary injuries. Your first workout back after being ill should be light enough so that you don’t get out of breath. See how you feel and gradually increase the intensity each time you work out. 

Don’t forget to stay hydrated

Just as you would when you’re completely healthy, it’s important to ensure you keep your fluids up when exercising with a cold or flu. Always remember to drink water and if you need to, you may consider supplementing your workout with electrolytes such as Ener-C Sport.

When you’re unwell, you’re likely to lose more fluids through sweating and through excess mucus. Regardless of whether you’re sick or not, keeping your fluids up will help to improve your recovery time when working out and ensure your body gets enough nutrients to avoid dehydration. 

Remember it is okay to take time to recover

You may have a specific exercise regime in place and feel like you simply can’t skip a day. But the truth is, sometimes you just need time to recover. If you’re really not feeling up to exercising, it may be time to give your body time to rest and recover. 

It may also be ideal to stay away from the gym as you’re likely to be contagious and run the risk of making others around you sick, too. Instead, give your body some self-love and give yourself time to heal.

If you’re unsure about whether you should be exercising with your cold or flu, have a chat with your doctor. They will be able to provide you with personalised advice based on your own symptoms.