Everyone who exercises regularly is guilty of this: They get sick, especially at this time of year when the seasons are changing. But rather than staying in bed and trying to get well, they drag themselves up and–head to a workout.
Most think that while they may not be strong enough for a full-on workout, breaking at least little sweat is better than laying around and feeling miserable.
But is it? Maybe, says at least one expert. “Having to slow down when you’re sick is Mother Nature’s way of saying don’t push it and it’s reasonable to pay attention to that,” says Dr. Keith Veselik, director of primary care at Loyola University Health System.
The key to deciding whether to workout is knowing what kind of illness you’re fighting. If it’s just a seasonal head cold, with sniffles and other symptoms, a light workout is perfectly fine. But if you’re symptoms are respiratory related, stay home.
In fact, says, Veselik, exercising can actually hurt you if you’re sick and also suffering from some diseases, such as diabetes. In these instances, your weakened body needs all the strength it can muster simply to fight off the sickness and get you well. In the short term, exercising may diminish those resources and leave you more susceptible to a decline.
Also, be mindful that you’re lugging your germs to a place where you may expose them to others. Be cognizant of that and, at minimum,thoroughly wipe down every piece of equipment you use and be somewhat anti-social. Your regular gym buds will appreciate it.