Skip to main content

Signs You’re Just Too Sick To Exercise

By Jeff Hayward

Most of us know when we’re too sick to go to work—that or our doctors will tell us. And for the most part, no one wants us to show up for work i’ll just to get sent home anyway. However, do you know when you’re too sick to exercise?

Getting in a workout when you’re feeling under the weather may seem harmless, but you could end up making yourself even more sick. You can also injure yourself if you’re doing strenuous exercises like lifting weights. If you’re not sure if you’re well enough to push yourself physically, then it may be best to take a knee, or just go to bed. Here are five ways to determine if your body is not up for your workout routine demands…

1. You Feel Dizzy

Popular lifestyle magazine, Cosmopolitan recalls a tennis match when top-seeded competitor, Serena Williams, seemed disoriented and was off her game. Turns out she had a viral illness. The illness caused her difficulty in simple tasks, like bouncing a tennis ball.

She was eventually removed from the match after the doctor was called in. If you’re feeling light-headed or dizzy, it’s not going to help to force your body into performing, even if the stakes are high. Also, the last thing you want is to have a 200-pound barbell over your head while having a dizzy spell.

2. Persistent Cough

Many individuals think they can work off their illness, which can lead to whatever ails you becoming much worse, says Men’s Health magazine. If you have congestion in your lungs, or a dry, hacking cough, take a day off from the gym. Besides, who wants a dude hacking his lungs out at the gym, especially when you’re sharing the same equipment?

As the mag points out, “You can’t sweat your way back to health”. Recovery will speed up if you give your body a bit of a break so it can fight off the illness. Unless you’re running from a bull, perhaps it’s best to allow yourself some chill time.

3. You Have a Fever

Again, it’s a very bad idea to lift weights or perform other strenuous exercises when you’re battling the flu, according to Men’s Health magazine. You may feel like you’re recovering and that it’s a cop-out to skip a lifting session, but you could still be running a temperature.

The magazine points out that working out with a fever can add to your risk of becoming dehydrated, which in a worst case scenario can lead to heart failure.

4. You’ve Had a Recent Asthma Attack

WebMD suggests staying far away from the weight room if you’ve had a recent flare-up of a respiratory illness, such as asthma. The health source suggests taking a few days off from the gym, or at least getting the green light from your doctor.

Even with the okay from a physician, you should still take precautions not to overdo it too early. WebMD says you should warm up for at least 10 minutes before beginning low-to-moderate exercise (indoor swimming is a good choice in this situation). It’s also good to spread out your exercise routine, and stop if you feel any shortness of breath coming on.

5. Your Body Aches

Sure, sometimes a workout can cause some soreness in your muscles. However, if you’re experiencing other symptoms, such as congestion or shivers, then it’s time to take a break from high intensity workouts, says the Washington Post.

Body aches often come with “big-kahuna” colds that can knock you on your backside—especially if you’re not careful and don’t give your body a chance to recover, said the newspaper.

6. Rest Days Are Important

Also, if you’re very sore all the time from working out (when you’ve been lifting weights for weeks or months and even if you’re not sick), then you may want to tone it down a bit. Consistency is key, not by breaking yourself. And rest and recovery is a vital part of building muscle, endurance, and tone.

Remember, missing a day or two at the gym is not going to destroy your workout goals. However, working out with flu symptoms could knock you out of commission for much longer.

Writer, General Health

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience writing professionally about health, travel and the arts among other subjects. He continuously looks to improve his own overall health through exercise, diet and mindfulness. He is also a proud stay-at-home dad that loves taking photographs both professionally and as a hobby.

Fitness News & Advice


Exercise Can Help Prevent and Treat Mental Health Problems, and Taking It Outside Adds Another Boost to Those Benefits
By Scott Lear Fitness News & Advice

Exercise Can Help Prevent and Treat Mental Health Problems, and Taking It Outside Adds Another Boost to Those Benefits

Mental health problems affect one in five people every year. The Canadian Mental Health Association estimates that by the age of 40, about half of people will either have had a mental illness or will currently be dealing with one. Behavioural therapy and medications are common first options for treatment. However, research has shown the […]

Read More about Exercise Can Help Prevent and Treat Mental Health Problems, and Taking It Outside Adds Another Boost to Those Benefits

4 min read