You just found a great workout routine that melts away your belly fat and bulk up your muscles, but now you’re sick. The universe hates you, right? Well, guess what? We’ve all been there. So don’t worry, there are exercises you can perform while sick. In fact, if you play it right, physical activity can actually promote immunity and help you fight the illness.
How To Exercise While Sick
It is good to know: Brief vigorous exercise doesn’t cause immune-suppressing effect, but moderate intensity exercise can actually boost your immunity. Be aware that prolong vigorous exercise depress the adaptive immune system. So the perfect exercise while sick is a light to moderate intensity workout.
Walking, jogging, swimming, biking, yoga, tai chi or qigong are light to moderate intensity exercises you can do when you’re sick. The activities you should avoid while sick are heavy strength training, endurance training, HIIT (high intensity interval training), sprinting, team sports, exercise in extreme temperatures.
Here’s what kind of exercises you should do and don’t when you start feeling sick:
1. First Day Of Illness
If your symptoms are sore throat, couching, runny nose and/or congested nose, you should perform only low intensity exercises. Don’t exercise in any form when you have muscle or joint pain, headache, fever, malaise, diarrhea or vomiting.
2. Second Day Of Illness
If your fever and malaise have gone, and there’s no worsening of “above the neck” symptoms, you can do 30 to 45 minutes of light exercise, indoors. Don’t exercise at all if your temperature is above 37.5C and/or the couch increased.
3. Third Day Of Illness
If fever and malaise have gone, and there’s no worsening of the initial symptoms, you can perform 45 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise, indoors. But if fever and the other symptoms are still present, you need to consult your doctor.
4. Forth Day Of Illness
If fever and the rest of the symptoms improved, you need to wait for 24 hours and then return to exercise. But if new symptoms appear, or there’s no symptom relief, you definitely need to consult your doctor.
Some illnesses can indicate serious health problems, so if you aren’t feeling better and recovering after a couple of days, consulting your doctor is mandatory. In this case, rest while sick is as important as exercise while sick. So return to your workout routine ONLY after a rest period equals with the length of your sickness period. For instance, if you were sick for 4 days, return to your workout routine after 4 days of rest.
Tips To Prevent Getting Sick: If you feel healthy and simply want to prevent getting sick, you should stay moderately active most days of the week, get enough rest and recovery, and always wash your hands before and after your workout session. For more info, you can check this awesome infographic made by the guys from Precision Nutrition.