Should you workout when ill?


One question I get quite a bit, and often discuss with my PT clients, is whether you should work out when you’re ill.
These views are my personal opinions, and I feel it’s pretty individual to the person. If you are in doubt, I would say do not workout, until you are back to normal.

With any kind of illness, be it viral or bacterial, you’re body will be working overtime to fight this infection, and so “clean” nutrition and water, is essential to help speed the bodies response, and assist your immune system.

** If you have a virus, chest infection, or temperature, definitely DO NOT WORK OUT. These are some pretty severe symptoms, and you will be doing your body more harm than good by working out. **

However, if you just have the sniffles, or a slight sore throat, and you work out regularly, then there should be no harm in doing a light workout. Certainly do not work to failure, or a challenging set of intervals!

Personally, I do not work out when I feel ill. My body tends to ache and I find that resistance work makes my muscles and body feel worse the next day, and I’d rather rest, eat and drink water, and get myself back to near 100% before returning. Also, if I’m ill and can’t work, I lose money as I’m self-employed!! I always steer clear of big exercises when ill, as I’ve performed Squats a few times when slightly ill, and my body has ached big time for a few days afterwards – but that could just be me!!

Just remember, any form of exercise is a stress on the body, and when it is already stressed though illness, you could be doubling the effort the body is going through to rid the illness.
Often a rest from the gym can be as good as a workout in terms of recovery to the body. Plus, if you’re goal is weight loss, remember the key is nutrition, so it would be more crucial to watch what, and how, you ate during this period, rather than whether you should be working out or not.


At the first signs of illness, or sore throat, I will dose up with Echinnacea and Olive Leaf extract. If I keep these running, I find the symptoms will dissapear in a few days, or if I caught it late, the symptoms will be a lot less severe than what they would have been without this supplementation. If you choose to take these, just ensure you continue for a few days after symptoms have dissapeared to ensure the virus/bacteria has been erradicated.

What are your views? Do you workout when ill?
NOTE: This is my personal view, and I will not be held responsible for any injury or illness that could be sustained from following my views above. If in doubt do not workout when ill, and contact your GP. (Mark)

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