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Should you work out if you’re sick?

Regular exercise is great for maintaining your body’s health and immunity. But what should you do when you’re feeling under the weather? Should you ‘sweat it out’ or get some rest?

The answer depends on your symptoms.

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If you’re experiencing symptoms that are ‘above-the-neck’ – like a runny nose, dry cough, or sneezing, then you should be fine to exercise (if you’re feeling up to it). However, if you’re feeling congested, have an upset stomach, fever or muscle aches, then taking a break from your exercise routine is the way to go.

Proper rest helps your body recuperate from whatever illness you’re fighting off. If you power through your exercise when feeling ill, you run the risk of fatigue and prolonging your illness.

Whether you’re exercising in the midst of a mild cold or returning to the gym post-flu, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Always clean off gym equipment: Illness-causing germs can be spread to others before symptoms appear. So wipe down those exercise machines before and after each use.
Exercising with a mild cold: If you have a cold but still have the energy to workout, decrease the intensity of your exercise.
Consider at-home exercise: Group settings like a gym make it easy for germs to spread. If you must exercise, consider doing a modified routine from the comfort of your home.
Gradually return to your routine: Once you’ve recovered from your illness, don’t max out during your workouts for the first few days. Start off with light activity and gradually increase.
Stay hydrated: This rule should always be followed but it’s particularly essential during and after an illness like a cold or other infection.

No matter the condition, you should always listen to your body. Sometimes it’s best to throw in the towel to recover and rest.


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