Exercising is the best activity for a human body. We all ought to extract some time off our tight and stringent schedules and indulge ourselves in some or other exercises for our health. But what if you are sick? Is it safe to work out when sick? Should you exercise if you have a soaring fever? Here, we discuss the possible situations and views of various experts on the most common question, whether it is safe to work out when sick.
Is it Safe to Workout When Sick?
Well this answer totally depends upon your health and the severity of the condition. For example, hitting the gym with a minor cold is ok but with a high fever is unhesitatingly a big NO. Fever in fact, is the limiting factor here. According to Lewis G. Maharam, sport medicine expert and MD from New York, he rightfully asserts that exercising with a fever body would raise the body temperature internally and would worsen the condition. Exercising at a temperature more than 101 degree definitely is a dangerous for anyone and in worst cases, the person can even collapse.
Experts believe that if you are willing to exercise when you are unwell it is best to perform only light exercises that keep you comfortable. If an exercise is disturbing you then it`s better to just stay off it. This is mainly because, many people are addicted to exercising and not doing daily workouts can make them feel sick. But if the condition is bad, it is important for the person to judge the situation and stay away from rigorous training. If you have a very bad flu and you just can`t raise your head of the pillow then it`s better that you stick to your bed and relax properly. Thus, you can say that the answer to the question is it safe to work out when sick depends on your health condition only.
Take Care in Chest Tightness
On this topic, Geralyn Coopersmith who is a personal trainer & exercise physiotherapist based in New York; she says that as far as your condition is just a minor sniffle which would eradicate after few pills and you aren't feeling too sick or drowsy, it`s ok to work out. But if you are having any sort of bronchial tightness, it`s just not advisable to exercise since that can aggravate your condition. It`s actually very important to know the limit or capability of your body. When you are sick, it`s pretty evident that you just cannot do the same amount or intensity of exercises which you did earlier when you were fine.
When you are trying to find an answer whether it is safe to work out when sick, you need to assess yourself properly and then exercise. For instance, if you are feeling low or sick, you might go for walking instead of running. Similarly, you can also go for a regenerative exercise like yoga since sprinting isn't what your body would advise you to do so in such conditions.
Do a Neck Check
Neil Schachter, an MD and medical director at the Respiratory care at Mount Sinai Medical Center based in New York gives his opinion, on is it safe to work out when sick? He says that the best way to figure out whether to exercise or not, is to simply do a "Neck Check". If the symptoms of the sickness are well above the neck like a soreness in throat, nasal congestion, sneezes or teary eyes, it`s ok to exercise in such cases.
However, if the symptoms are below the neck region like intense coughing, high fever, body aches, fatigue, then in such cases; to rest the gym shoes and rest is the best option. One shouldn't get on to exercise unless these symptoms subside. This neck check is the best option while having any respiratory diseases. The ability and decision to exercise depends directly on the severity of sickness.
How Long Will You Have to Wait to Workout When Sick?
On an average, an uncomplicated flu would take 7 days for recovery. However, flu which initiates complications like bronchitis or sinusitis can also last for even 2 weeks. In fact, cough and cold flu symptoms might linger in the body for weeks if they are left untreated. Few unwanted and worse flu can also make you unwanted and ill for more than 2 weeks.
Conditions like fever, dehydration, loose motions can make you feel weak and may require some time to recover. The best way to decide is when you are completely off medications, free from symptoms and feeling energetic enough to get back to your routine.
Etiquettes of Gym When Exercising With Severe Cold
Well if you are stepping into the gym with minor cold or cough, then you got to make sure that you do not want to spread your illness. Avoid blowing off the nose when people are around you and use a tissue. Even if you are standing in a group, you can just excuse yourself for some time.
Geralyn Coopersmith says that one should always use a towel in the gym especially when suffering from any flu. Use the towel before you use an exercising equipment and also do not forget to wipe off the surface or machine you have finished using with a towel. She terms this as a universal etiquette of gym and makes it important for every other gym addict to use a towel in gym always.
In this respect Neil Schachter also signifies the relevance of washing hands in the gym. He recommends washing of hands well before leaving the restroom. In gym, it is very important that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after your exercising regime. Also he briefs the importance of carrying an alcohol based sanitizer gel in the gym bag. You never know when you are going to come in contact with a person who is sneezing and coughing and you take part in his ailment. So, while you consider whether or not it is safe to work out when sick, you also need to understand the gym etiquettes when using it during minor illness. Hence, following gym etiquettes like using a cotton towel, using a sanitizer gel to wipe hands, always coughing and sneezing separately holds a lot of importance.
Thus we can conclude that you are the best person to decide if it is safe to work out when sick, depending on the severity of your illness. You can carry on with lighter exercises options like walking or yoga, if you are feeling less energetic. If you have minor cold and still are able to go ahead with your work out, you can do so, with appropriate precautions, hygiene measures. You can help in your recovery by having a healthy diet and taking plenty of rest afterwards. However, if your condition is severe and need medications, it is best to take some days off from your work out. Seek medical advice on whether or not it is safe to work out when sick, as every sickness is different and of varying severity.