Should You Exercise While Sick? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you're stuck inside feeling run down and sick, you may be wondering if exercise is a good idea. Or, maybe you’re sitting on the couch and exercise is the furthest thing from your mind. 


While the body needs rest (and lots of it) when fighting off an infection, a little gentle movement can do a body good. 

I’m sharing how to workout when sick and why it may be a good idea. 


But, before diving, it’s important to speak with your medical provider as exercising while sick is going to vary greatly depending on the person. 


So, once you get your clearance, here are some of the reasons to get moving while sick, and my favorite ways to do so when feeling yucky. 


When & Why Workout Out While Sick


Research suggests that it’s ok to exercise while sick with a cold, a stuffy nose, an earache, or a mild sore throat. 


As a general rule of thumb, don’t workout if you are dealing with symptoms that are “below the neck”. For example, if you have a cough, chest congestion, or have the flu or stomach bug. 


With that being said, if you have a mild illness, here are some of the benefits of getting the blood flowing. 



The Best Gentle Exercise to Try While Sick 


#1 Yoga 


A gentle yoga routine is a great way to get your body moving while sick. It’s low impact and won’t spike your heart rate like intense cardio. It’s also a great way to combat stress and unwind, while also stretching out tight muscles. 


#2 Stretching


The benefits of stretching aren’t talked about enough, and it makes a great low-impact, gentle way to get the body moving and boost circulation while sick. You can help stretch out any tension you may be experiencing while keeping your heart rate low, and leave you feeling a bit more energized. 


If you’re in need of some stretch inspo, check out this 90-second morning abundance stretch that would be perfect for when you’re feeling up to a little movement. 


#3 Walking


If you’re up for it, get outside for a walk. It’s a great way to boost circulation, soak up some much-needed vitamin D (which also comes with immune-boosting benefits), and open up those clogged nasal passages. Take things slow and only do as much as your body is telling you is conformable. Remember, the goal is to just move gently, not get in a full-blown cardio workout. 


Always Listen to Your Body 


If your body is telling you to slow down or stop, listen! When fighting off a germ, your body is using lots of energy, so don’t overdo it and think of exercise while sick like an active recovery day where you take things slow. 

Gentle Movement Does the Body Good 


Not only will getting a little movement into your day help boost circulation, and possibly give you a little energy boost, regular exercise is an excellent preventative step in helping ward off germs in the first place. Research has shown that getting exercise in regularly helps boost the immune system while also fending off chronic disease. 


The takeaway here — get regular movement into your day-to-day life, and if you’re feeling sick, take things a little slower than you usually would. It’s a wonderful act of self-care and something that may actually help you feel a bit better. 


You may also be interested in:

8 Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

7 Habits of Insanely Healthy People

Time to Go With The Flow: Who’s Up For a Yoga Challenge?