Should You Go to The Gym When You Are Sick?

by | Jul 13, 2012 | Health and Wellness

Working Out When SickIf you are dedicated to a fitness routine, it can be really frustrating when getting sick derails your healthy habits.

So what should you do when you had planned to go for a workout but are not feeling so well?

Some experts state that moderate exercise can actually improve the symptoms of a mild cold and will help you feel better quicker.

However, if you are too sick to go to the gym you also risk wearing out your body when you really should be devoting your energy to recuperating, and this can make a simple sickness last much longer than it should.

Also, gyms are communal environments with lots of opportunities to spread germs, so is it really bad etiquette to be coughing and sneezing all over the equipment?

The Neck Rule

One guideline that is recommended when determining whether you are too ill to work out is the “Neck Rule”.

This rule states that if your symptoms are all above the neck, such as a headache or a stuffy nose, it is probably just a head cold and it is ok to hit the treadmill.

However, if your symptoms are anywhere else in the body such as an upset stomach, aches and chills or fever, you should stay home.

These are signs of flu or another more serious ailment and exercising will only make you feel worse.

Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good film instead, and wait until your strength returns.

Take it Easy

If you have passed the neck test and have decided to go to the gym, make sure that you tone down your workout intensity.

It is recommended that you start at around 50 percent intensity and work your way up slowly to around 80 percent of your usual workout routine.

Moderate exercise will help you feel better, but going overboard will weaken your immune system.

Also, when you are ill you are at a much higher risk of dehydration so make sure that you drink lots more water when exercising.

Of course, don’t forget to clean all of your equipment at the gym with anti-bacterial wipes when you are finishing using it so that you don’t spread your germs around!