Should You Really Work Out When You’re Sick?

Can you work out while you’re sick?

When deciding between the gym and the medicine cabinet, sports health physician Vikas Patel, DO, suggests a “neck check.

When you can work out vs. when you can’t

For symptoms above the neck, such as sore throat, coughing, sneezing, or runny nose, it is usually safe to exercise. 

Exceptions to every rule

You should never exercise with a fever. If you have asthma or a cardiac disease, Dr. Patel advises seeing your doctor before exercising.

Listen to your body

If you're not feeling well, don't force yourself to exercise. The neck check may indicate otherwise.

Are you putting others at risk?

Working out when unwell requires consideration of others' safety. Avoid gyms, workout classes, and team sports.

The flu

Flu patients were contagious before symptoms appeared. Your contagiousness will peak in three to four days.

The common cold

A cold can be more contagious than the flu. Contagiousness usually lasts one to three days before symptoms appear and can last two weeks.