When to Reschedule Your Workout in the Face of Illness: Fitness Fridays

Fitness Fridays

 To workout, or not to workout; that is the question.

Cold and flu season is upon us. The pros of working are obvious: you’ll continue to burn calories, reduce stress, move towards achieving your fitness goals, and possibly boost your immune system. The cons of exercising while sick are also difficult to ignore: you run the risk of  wearing yourself down.

When you’re on a tight budget this decision bares more weight. On the one hand, missing a fitness class or skipping days on a monthly gym membership is basically like throwing away money. On the other hand, pushing yourself too hard can result in prolonged illness, which may even mean missing work or class…. once again money factors into the equation in an unfavourable way.

If these symptoms apply to you, forgo your workout until you feel better (for your sake and your wallets):


Your Symptoms are ‘Below the Neck’

Generally speaking, if you have above the neck symptoms (a cough, sore throat, eye irritation, a runny nose, or a headache) you should be fine to continue working out as normal. 

If your symptoms are below the neck, including stomach illness, fever, full body exhaustion, or intense pains, skip your workout.

You’re Stuck in Bed

Even if you have an above the neck illness, you may find yourself unable to get out of bed. If you’re having a serious migraine, for example, skip your workout.

If you’re too weak and tired to get up, rest. If you push yourself too hard you run the risk of collapsing while away from home or when using dangerous equipment.

Your Exercise Class Contains Seniors, Children, or Immune Compromised Individuals

You may not always know the health status of other members in your fitness classes, but if you are taking a class with one or more individuals who you know are put at a significant risk by catching a cold or flu, opt for home workouts until you are no longer contagious.

Generally speaking, it’s considered good gym etiquette to avoid crowded sessions when you’re sick. If you absolutely can’t stay away from the gym, remember to thoroughly clean all of the equipment you use. Wash your hands regularly and do not share towels or water bottles.


You’re Having Trouble Breathing or You Feel Faint

If you have a really bad cough or serious congestion you may find that you are feeling exceptionally dizzy. If this is the case, avoid rigorous exercises such as intensive cardio or deadlifting. Instead, opt for a more relaxed form of exercise such as walking, yoga, or repetitive lifts with low weight options.

Sick and restless? Try a short, laid-back workout like Jessica Smith TV’s Under the Weather Workout, to get a little bit of movement into your day. You can do it more than once if needed!

Remember: a few missed workouts pale in comparison to the hefty financial (and fitness) burden of prolonged illnesses such as pneumonia. Rest up and stay hydrated!


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