Working out during cold and flu season: when to go and when to stay in bed!

It’s that time of year…Flu season, cold season, “Rick from the office just won’t take a sick day, and so he’s been coughing all over the copy machine, season.”  If you work with other people or have children in daycare (my 3 year old is our main household germ transmitter thanks to daycare), picking up a bug is nearly inevitable (but that’s not a reason to resist taking the Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea).  For those of us who like to work out or need to workout, this can present a bit of a problem and will likely result in some feelings of guilt, grumpiness or anger.  But, it may be ok to keep up a workout even though you are a little under the weather (bring hand sanitizer and tissues or a towel to the gym, so you don’t pay it forward).

sick when workout

Dr. Laskowski, of the Mayo Clinic, provides the following advice:


  • Exercise is generally ok if your symptoms are above the neck (this is true for the colds as well as hypochondriacs). If you’ve got a runny nose, congestion, a minor sore throat, feel free to battle on.  However, consider reducing your level of exertion to account for feeling crummy.
  • Don’t exercise if your symptoms are below the neck e.g., chest congestion, body aches, upset stomach.
  • Don’t exercise if you have a fever.


That being said, it may be more beneficial to focus on rest (especially a solid night sleep), recovery and stretching.  In order to maintain the progress you’ve seen from the effort you’ve already put in, try to eat clean (fruits, veggies, broths, marrow, some meat), drink lots of fluids, and stretch (unless you’re my husband who only eats Mountain Dew and Candy when he’s sick…if that sounds like you, Good Luck!).



About the author  ⁄ Kristin

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    • Kristin Author
      February 26, 2013

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