How Soon Can I Work Out After Getting Sick?

Working out is a healthy activity, but it can be a dangerous one if you are recovering from a sickness. You might be itching to get back to the gym after missing time, but you need to listen to your body. If you return to working out too soon, or do not stop when you are sick, you can relapse or intensify the symptoms.

Respiratory Sickness

When your lungs are involved, you need to avoid working out. Exercise puts a strain on your body and weakens your immune system. A respiratory infection can lead to bronchitis and even to pneumonia if the body is not allowed to rest. Pushing yourself in these situations will do more harm than good. In an article in "The Washington Post," immunologists suggest waiting two weeks after such an illness to resume exercise.


When you have a fever, you should not work out because your body temperature is already too high. Working out naturally raises your body temperature and elevates your heart rate. You do not want to intensify the effects of a fever with physical exertion. You could end up loosing too much water and fainting. Dr. Edward Laskowski on advises against working out if you have a fever.

The Common Cold

In a 1997 study conducted at Ball University cited in "The Washington Post," 50 student volunteers were infected with the common cold. Half were asked to exercise while the others rested. The duration of the cold was not increased in those who worked out versus the students who rested. Dr. Laskowski on suggests, "Exercise is usually OK if your signs and symptoms are all 'above the neck' — symptoms you may have with a common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat."

Take It Slow

The most important rule in resuming exercise after being sick, according to, is to take it slowly. Do not just jump back into your normal workout. You need to lower the intensity and even the duration of the exercise until you feel comfortable. By starting back too soon, you run the risk of weakening your immune system or hurting yourself during the workout. If you are uncertain about when to return, consult your doctor.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.