Should I workout when I am sick?

A question which is currently facing me, while I struggle to recover from the strongest flu I have experienced in years. It started a week ago with stomach problems. I did not take it very seriously and decided to keep training hard.

Soon after, I started to feel cold and started to break out into cold sweats. Aside from feeling terrible and chances of infecting everyone, I realized it was time to take a few days off and stay at home and rest.

Rest allows your immune system to recover. Get to bed early and get extra sleep, drink plenty of fluids (water, ginger tea etc.); and did I mention rest?

What should you do when you start feeling sick? Sweat it out? Or get some rest instead?
Let us look at all the facts and next time you get the flu or a cold, you’ll know what to do. We know that exercise is a scientifically proven immunity booster. Exercising regularly can help you avoid getting sick in the first place. But if you are already sick, you can hold to the following:

Symptoms Activity Avoid
– sore throat
– coughing
– running nose 
– walking (in the sunshine)
– yoga
– mobility/flexibility work 
– endurance
– strength training
– HIIT and other group classes
– Sports practice (contagious)
– muscle/joint pain
– headache
– fever
– flu
– diarrhea
– vomiting
– Rest


After 3 or 4 days of feeling not well, I would advise consulting a doctor, as you might have a more serious infection.

What can you do during your recovery to maintain fitness?
Listen to your body and use common sense. Return to exercise according to the proportion with regards to the length of your illness. Take it easy for the first few days you are back. Don’t go 100% for the first three or four days. Start with half the intensity of your normal workout and increase gradually for the days after.

To answer the question in the title, having just learned this lesson the hard way, my short answer is “NO”. You shouldn’t exercise when you are seriously sick. You should use exercise for boosting your immunity but when you are sick you should rest until you feel better. Let me know your experience in the comments or as a message and share this post.

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