Should I Exercise When Sick?

Posted by Kayla at


You have just started a new exercise routine (like my BBTG) and are doing great, you haven't missed a workout and are feeling confident in yourself. All of a sudden you get hit with a cold or the flu and you find yourself asking wondering whether you should keep exercising or not...

I think that it depends on what illness you have. If it is your "normal" cold with a runny nose and your throat feeling like sandpaper, you should still be okay to exercise if you feel up to it. On the other hand if you are struck down with the flu and are lying in bed with a fever that is where you should stay! Exercising with a fever may make you even sicker due to the further increase of your internal body temperature. I firmly believe you should listen to your body when you are sick, if you are feeling under the weather maybe turn your HIIT session into a long walk or do some yoga instead of a boxing class. If you miss a few sessions that is perfectly okay, our bodies need rest if we want them to function properly. Slogging it out at the gym when you are feeling under the weather may make you feel worse instead of better.

You can also do a ‘neck check’, this refers to your symptoms. If they are above the neck such as a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and a cough then you are probably okay to workout (although it definitely does not mean you have to). If your symptoms are below the neck such as body aches and pains, stomach pain, nausea and chest pain then you are best to sit it out. Remember exercise is an immunity booster meaning if you do it regularly you will boost your immune system, however when sick it is time to rest. Having a good immune system means you shouldn't be sick very often.

Sweat with Kayla

When healthy, our bodies are designed to cope with the stress of a tough workout, they respond to it and this is what makes us fitter and stronger. When we are sick our immune system has taken a beating and will not cope well with the stress of your regular workout. This is where you need to learn to take it easy, this doesn't mean you have to laze around like a couch potato all day. Simply go for a walk or a bike ride, getting some fresh air will be good for you!

Here are my top foods to eat when you are sick:

  • DIY Popsicles: Make these with 100% fresh juice, freeze them and voila! They will help to soothe a sore throat and give you some hydration
  • Vegetable Juice: If the last thing you feel like doing when sick is chopping up a salad having a glass of fresh vegetable juice is an easy way to get your nutrients in. My favourite combo is beetroot, celery, carrot, ginger, apple and pear.
  • Garlic: While this isn’t the most pleasant to chomp on raw, garlic has anti-microbial properties that are good for healing viruses. Try roasting some with other veggies to bring out the sweetness.
  • Ginger: This is another one of my favourites when sick. It is great for soothing stomach aches and nausea, it may also help to fight inflammation. Try freshly grating it into other foods or having ginger tea if it is too strong for you fresh.
  • Broth based soup: Ahhh the old chicken soup wives tale! Chicken soup is actually great for making you feel better because chicken contains an amino-acid called cysteine which helps to thin mucus in the lungs.The hot broth helps to keep your nasal passages clear and it also prevents dehydration. If you are vegetarian try miso as an alternative.

I hope these tips have helped girls, and remember if you are sick rest up! You finally have the perfect excuse to catch up on your tv shows.

Kayla xx

* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.

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