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Exercising When Sick: What You Should Know

Sandy Braz

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You’re in a fitness groove: You have your workout schedule down to a science and are really starting to see results. But now you’ve suddenly come down with a cold. Should you take a break?

The basic rule

If your sickness is from the neck up (like a head cold or runny nose), it’s typically safe to work out, just be mindful of how you feel. However, if your sickness has affected you from the neck down, including your lungs or muscles (a sore body is a key indicator to take a break), it’s ideal to rest until you recover or have your doc’s go ahead.

But if you’re up to it and able to work out, here are few tips for modifying your fitness routine, without sacrificing the fun or results:

  1. Go easy on the cardio. Proceed with your regular runs, walks or group fitness classes, but be mindful of congestion or a laboured breathing.
  2. A home workout. Try changing up the scenery and bringing your workout home. A fitness DVD or fitness magazine could be all the inspiration you need for new ideas on “how to”.
  3. Get flexible. In addition to changing up your workout venue (see #2), take this opportunity to work on other areas that need work, like flexibility or core strength.

Whatever you choose, it’s important to first get the green light from your doctor—your fitness routines should remain fun and safe at all times, especially when you’re battling a bug.

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