BSc Sports and Exercise Science 

Personal Trainer and

Nutrition Coach 

* Results may vary from person to person 

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Should You Exercise When You’re Unwell?

January 16, 2020

* apologies for the error on the previous link to this blog post*

(1 minute read) 


Exercise really can help you fight off the bugs and keep you from getting ill, however, if you do catch a cold or the flu should you power through or should you take some time out from exercise? 


If your symptoms are mild or as I always say from the throat up (sore throat, cold, congestion or headache) then continuing to train is most likely fine and can more often than not help you feel better quicker, however if the symptoms are from the chest down (chest infection, fever- shivers/ chills/ aches etc or stomach bug) I would suggest taking time out and have a rest until you feel better. 


So how does exercise keep you healthy and prevent you from getting the bugs in the first place?


1. Exercise helps to strengthen your immune system by removing and preventing harmful bacteria in your body from turning into a full-blown cold.


2. Being active helps to boost white blood cell production which your body needs to fight infections. 


3. Exercise helps to reduce stress which is also known to weaken your immune system.


If you do exercise when you have a cold, which is totally fine, you may notice a slight drop in strength in the gym or energy but that is okay, do a lighter session and just get moving. 


If you are really unwell and are having trouble breathing, muscle pains, chills or aches, vomiting, diarrhoea or fever I would recommend taking a rest, this will give your body more energy to heal faster, exercising when you are really unwell can make things worse as it puts more stress on your body when it is trying to fight a bad bug and actually make your recovery time slower. Easy back into exercise once you are feeling better! 


Take home message: if symptoms are throat and up you are fine to exercise if you feel like it, chest and below give it a rest.


*if you are feeling unusually unwell and you are not recovering like you normally would, ensure you consult a doctor.


Hope you find this useful, 



Kasia :) 


BSc Sports Science, Women’s Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer 



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