Exercising When You’re Sick: 3 of the Best and Worst Workouts To Do

What should you do when a cold and flu strikes and derails your fitness progress? It can be so frustrating to get sick when you’re on a fitness high. You’ve managed to get yourself motivated after the holidays to workout, and then you catch a cold. The last thing you feel like doing when you’re sick is exercise. It is important to rest, but if you’ve been staying consistent up until that point, it can cause a big set-back with your weight loss and/or fitness goals.

There are times when you can continue to exercise when you’re sick, and times when you really just need to stay in bed. Here’s a quick cheat-sheet to let you know when it is OK to workout, and when you should take some time off to rest:



If you choose to exercise when you’re sick, sticking to mild to moderate intensity is best. You may need to either scale back on the intensity and/or length of the exercise. Once you start feeling better, you should slowly resume your normal workout level. When exercising while you’re sick, there are some workouts that will be better than others .

The 3 Best Workouts to Do When You’re Sick:

1. Yoga

Yoga focuses on low-impact, low-intensity movements and breathing. A short yoga flow when you have a cold may actually help to relieve some of the nasal congestion.

2. Walking

Take a step back from your daily run when you’re sick and go for a walk instead. It’s still burning calories and it’s still getting your heart rate up to a level where you’re not overdoing it.

3. Dancing

Dancing to some of your favorite tunes can help reduce stress and get you in a better mood. This can be a great boost for your immune system. Pop in your favorite dance workout DVD or try playing some music and enjoy yourself while you disinfect the house of all your germs!

If you can’t stand to take time off from exercise when you’re sick, there are some workouts you should avoid. Your body is working hard to fight off the illness and you don’t want to put it under a lot of pressure during this time.

The 3 Worst Workouts To Do When You’re Sick:

1. Long-distance running

Running takes up a lot of energy, especially if you are going a long-distance. You need to save this energy for recovery of your illness.

2. Fitness classes/Crossfit

You may feel up to the challenge of taking a class when you’re sick, but the people in the class may not appreciate it. Leave your germs at home and avoid spreading them to your classmates or gym mates.

3. Weight-lifting

Lifting weights can be dangerous when you’re sick because your body is not up to its’ full strength. You are more likely to injure yourself while lifting heavy weights when sick. If you insist on lifting weights, do it at home with much lighter weights.

Do you continue to workout when you’re sick or do you take some time off?