Should you workout when you are sick?
Today I was faced with this very question. I got hit with the crud on Monday and decided to rest on Tuesday rather than workout. Today is Wednesday and I’m feeling better, but nowhere near back to full-health. I’m not opposed to working out when you’re sick, assuming you’re smart about it. So how do you go about being smart about it? Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to determine whether you should workout when you are sick:
Workout When Sick Question #1: What kind of sickness do you have?
I’m battling a cold. The sore throat is gone and headaches come and go. I’m mostly in the coughing phase with some runny nose (regardless of what I decide, my abs are getting a great workout with all this coughing!). No biggie as this point, right?
However, I have asthma, albeit a very manageable case. Whenever I get a cold, it aggravates my chest more than it would for most people. For me, while working out with a cold is doable, it’s certainly not ideal. If I had the flu or pneumonia or anything with the vomits, I wouldn’t even consider it. But with a cold, just maybe. A rule of thumb is if the sickness is above the shoulders (minus a fever), you’re probably safe to workout. Only you can judge.
TIP REMINDER: If the sickness is above the shoulders (minus a fever), you’re probably safe to workout.
Workout When Sick Question #2: What kind of workout are you scheduled for?
Right now, I’m in the Performance Phase of P90X2. I have about a week and a half remaining and today’s scheduled workout is Yoga X2. I love Yoga, but it’s a different kind of intense. I know I’m in no condition to do P.A.P. Upper or P.A.P. Lower as they are much more exhaustive, but Yoga? I could probably crank it out.
It more or less comes down to the intensity of the workout. If I were scheduled to run 12 miles or do Max Interval Plyo from Insanity, I wouldn’t dream of working out today. However, a couple mile walk, Stretch 40 Class from TurboFire, or some other form of active recovery (like a 30-minute session with the Rumble Roller) could be a good transition workout from the land of the dead to the land of the living.
TIP REMINDER: The intensity of the workout helps determine whether or not you should do it. The less intense, the more likely it’s okay.
Workout When Sick Question #3: What does the rest of the workout week look like?
Not including today, I have four days left, Thursday – Sunday. Now I usually reserve Sunday for a rest day. But if need be, I can workout. So far, I’ve only done P.A.P. Upper for the week, which leaves for more workouts: one P.A.P. Upper, two P.A.P. Lowers, and Yoga X2.
I could easily resume working out tomorrow and get my workouts in for the week. I usually do a miscellaneous workout on Saturday, so if I skip today, I’ll either have to skip Saturday’s miscellaneous workout or double-up workouts that day. The point is, take a look at your schedule, see what kind of substitutions you can make, and try to get in your most important workouts for the week.
TIP REMINDER: If you can’t get in all your workouts for the week because of a sickness, do the most important ones. Which ones are those? Usually the ones you like the least because you need them the most.
So did I workout when I was sick?10% overtraining is far worse than 10% under-training. If I only had a runny nose and some sneezing, I wouldn’t have skipped any workouts. But this cold is going on three days. I slept a good portion of yesterday, slept in today and took a nap. My body is evidently craving all this sleep. I’m going to think like an athlete and choose to listen to it.
Tomorrow, I’ll pick back up with Yoga X2, then P.A.P. Lower, then P.A.P. Upper on Saturday (with some optional extra upper body stuff for my miscellaneous day), and then P.A.P. Lower on Sunday.
So should you workout when you are sick? Only you can make the final call. As you can see, I’m erring on the side of caution, a move I believe prudent when your body is trying to tell you something.Start My Coaching!