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Should You Exercise While Sick?

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Should you exercise when you’re sick? With this long winter, you’ve probably caught your share of bugs — you may even be enduring one right now — and if so, you’ve likely wondered what to do about your routine in the face of it. Should you come to the gym? If you can’t make it, can you stay fit and keep on track while still fighting an illness?

The Mayo Clinic says it’s okay to exercise if you have no fever, and if all your symptoms are “above the neck.” That means that a stuffy nose or sore throat shouldn’t keep you from exercising. However, you might want to scale back — take walks instead of running. And if you have chest congestion or stomach upset or a fever, forget about it. If you have any of those symptoms, you’re not only contagious, you are at risk of dehydration. Stay home. Consume fluids and keep washing your hands.

If you are able to exercise, CNN has a list of all the best and worst exercises you can do while sick. These include walking, yoga, and even dance! But be careful around free weights or too many machines. If you do decide to use the machines, make sure to wipe them down after each use so that you don’t share your cold with other people just trying to get the best exercise they can!

If you’re seriously ill, or recovering from a major injury, you might want to talk to a physiotherapy professional. But there are some exercises you can to do slowly rebuild muscle, like these gentle crunches and stretches. If you’re a cancer survivor, or undergoing treatment like chemotherapy, yoga may be the best exercise, because studies show it reduces inflammation in cancer patients and can lead to better sleep.

Of course, the most important thing when you’re sick is to get some rest and stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids, and try to get as many hours of sleep as you can. Sleep is what fights off those nasty germs that are giving you such trouble in the first place. So, if you can’t exercise, try resting, and see how much better you feel.