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Should You Train When You Are Sick?

Should You Train When You Are Sick?

Illnesses are inevitable and every person is bound to suffer from it in his or her lifetime. However, it is a matter of genuine debate as to whether sick persons can do exercises or not. The answer itself is not straightforward. It depends upon the prevailing health conditions as to whether exercises can improve health or worsen it. Thus, it is imperative for people to carefully analyse the illness itself before carrying out training. 

Avoid these workouts in all kinds of sicknesses

There are certain exercises that can worsen the symptoms of sickness. Team sports should be avoided if you are suffering from an infectious disease. Heavy weight lifting should be avoided as the body becomes weaker and more vulnerable during periods of illness. Avoid running for long distances as it can cause exhaustion and aggravate physical weakness. Spin classes, endurance training, Pilates, sprinting and hot yoga can be potentially harmful if it is done during illness periods.

Heavy weight lifting

When you are physically ill, then weight lifting is a strict no. Even during symptoms of cold, it is quite natural for people to poorly perform while lifting weights, because bodily weakness is a symptom of cold. Heavy weight lifting can cause sinus pressure and increase headaches. If your body permits, then you may try out light weight lifting. 

Swimming and biking

There is no question of either swimming or biking, if the sickness needs hospitalization. However, in the context of mild diseases, swimming can provide temporary relief. In case of cold, swimming can unblock nasal pathways. Biking can sometimes be counterproductive and aggravate the symptoms of cold and flu. However, it is worth noting that biking can be dangerous, if there are medications that cause drowsiness. 

Outdoor sports 

Playing sports that requires physical contact with many people should be avoided. It not only does aggravate symptoms but also facilitate its spread. People suffering from fever, cold, flu or any infectious disease must avoid all types of outdoor games. 

Workout in freezing temperatures

This can indeed turn out to be fatal if a person is battling cold symptoms. Cold dry air can irritate nasal airways and aggravate asthma symptoms. Freezing temperatures make the body susceptible to more diseases such as frost bite, asthma and pneumonia. 


Recommendations for workouts during sickness

Check and balance your electrolytes

The electrolytes balance plays a vital role during exercises. Always ensure that you drink enough liquids rich in electrolytes. This could include Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS), soup, coconut water, sports drinks and fruit juices. 

Balanced diet consumption

Healthy diet is the key to illness recovery in most treatable diseases. Balanced diet essentially implies the right amount of carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. It helps in improving the immune system and prevent infection. Eating a lot of fruits can be extremely beneficial during illnesses. 

Overexertion and over exhaustion must be avoided

The human body has limits to everything. During fever and extreme colds, the body generally fights off invading viruses or bacteria. The immune system’s response itself can wear you down and make you feel tired. Thus, it is always advisable to do light exercises and avoid straining your body. It is also noteworthy that overexertion can be fatal.

Listen to your inner voice

It is vital to listen to your inner voice while deciding on exercises. If you are sick and feeling tired, it is always advisable to take rest and not do heavy exercises. Conversely, if you feel that light exercises can be beneficial then do those with caution. 

Most suitable exercises during sickness

Most non-strenuous exercises include gardening, low intensity riding and walking. It may include practicing Tai Chi etc. These activities can help in strengthening immunity. 


If you are afflicted with cold, then walking can provide some relief. Regular walking for twenty minutes can improve cold symptoms. In case your nose is blocked, then some deep breathing exercises can be of immense relief. However, there is little research as to how exercise can improve cold symptoms. It is undeniable that people feel less sick if they regularly walk. 


Jogging is the most suitable exercise during mild diseases such as cold. Many physicians opine that jogging and brisk running can help patients feel better. However, one should avoid jogging if there are symptoms like vomiting and nausea. Most people choose either morning or evening time for jogging. Pace of jogging however must not exceed six miles per hour. It should always remain less rigorous than walking. Cardio vascular fitness can be enhanced by jogging alone. During sickness not requiring hospitalization, jogging can help in regaining both flexibility and muscular strength. 

Qi Gong

This is a form of exercise which can be called a combination of meditation and martial arts. It is worth noting that if one is not willing to do heavy exercises then he or she can try out Qi Gong. This helps in increasing energy levels and improves blood flow. Moreover, stress and anxiety can be minimized considerably while performing Qi Gong. In a report published by the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong has the potential to reduce respiratory infections and diseases by around seventy percent.


It is a known fact that whenever a body is fighting viral or bacterial infections, it releases a stress hormone called cortisol. This particular hormone if excessively released can harm the human body. For instance, there are asanas such as Setu Bandhasana, which is effective against yoga. It helps in improving the immunity levels. Similarly, hastapadasana improves blood flow in the head and helps in clearing sinus. Dhanurasana also have proven benefits against cold. There are several Yoga postures that can improve immunity and help in faster healing. 

Zumba dance

Zumba dance can be of immense benefits because it helps in relieving stress. Dance music can lower down cortisol levels and it helps in boosting the immune system. Research has found that people who listened to Zumba or similar heart related dance classes could minimize their stress levels.