Should You Exercise If You’re Feeling Sick?

Woman blowing her nose on a tissue outdoors in a leafy green park while out jogging conceptual of seasonal flu or allergiesExercise is part of building a healthy immune system. It can also help temporarily relieve symptoms associated with illness.

Knowing that, it seems like exercise during illness is a no-brainer. But it’s not that simple. So, if you’re feeling sick, should you exercise?


The best answer is that it depends. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there are even more factors to consider.

Generally speaking, if you’re experiencing common cold symptoms like a light headache or slightly runny nose, you’d be okay to exercise outdoors or at least in your home (you wouldn’t want to be passing it around at the community center or studio, however).

COVID-19 has changed that slightly. The reality is that asymptomatic carriers and those with light symptoms can still spread the virus. So, if you do head outside for a jog or walk, be sure to mask up and maintain distance. Scaling back your pace to walk is also a good idea.

If worse symptoms appear, or you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, observe stay-at-home orders. That’s ten days for residents of the United States and 14 days for Canadians.

Even if you don’t have COVID-19 but are experiencing symptoms like fever, chest congestion, or an upset stomach, it’s best to avoid exercise and save your energy for your immune system.


A suitable immune response requires plenty of energy. It’s best to rest up and budget your energy accordingly. At most, head outdoors for a slow walk near home and remain adequately distant from others. Stay home if COVID-19 is suspected.

If you’re not feeling well, even if it’s just something minor, avoid intense exercise. Although it’s ideal to take a day off until you’re feeling better, going out for a light walk to get the blood moving is really about all you want to do.

It’s easy to want to get out there and do more, especially since exercise will usually cause runny noses or slight headaches to subside when taking place. Just remember that what you need are rest and recovery.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.