Should You Exercise While Sick? 2 Do’s and Don’ts to Speed Up Recovery
Consistent moderate exercise and resistance training has been shown to strengthen the immune system, but if you’re feeling under the weather, should you push through and keep up with your training or do you take some time off?
What to do…and what not to do:
The popular rule has become if your symptoms are above the neck (i.e. runny nose, common cold, sneezing, minor sore throat, sinus congestion, etc), you can exercise, but in these ways:
1. Low to moderate exercise (low intensity)
- resistance training
2. Decreased exercise time (low duration)
- 15-30 minutes
These modifications can actually IMPROVE the immune system in healthy people and clear the head and nose.
If symptoms are below the neck (i.e. upset stomach, difficulty breathing, lower lung congestion, fever, body aches, flu symptoms, etc), it’s best to focus on rest and recovery. If symptoms are still “above the neck,” avoid:
1. High intensity workouts
- heavy weights
- high heart rate/exertion
2. Long durations
- 1+ hour sessions
Failing to modify your exercise can cause the immune system to slow down (up to 3 days!), preventing you from recovering faster. No matter your symptoms, if you find any exercise makes you feel worse rather than better, modify even further or focus on resting for recovery.
If you’re looking for ways to speed up your recovery; ask your healthcare providers about an individualized service specific to you!
As always, we hope this helps! If you have any questions or if you would like to read about certain topics, feel free to send us an email at TeamSP@SportsPerformancePT.com.
TUNE IN TO OUR PODCAST