Should you workout when you are sick? Today I was faced with this very question. You see, 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 three questions to ask yourself to determine whether you should workout when you are sick:
1st Question: What kind of sickness do you have? I’m battling a cold. The sore throat is gone, headaches come and go, so 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). However, I have asthma, albeit a very manageable case. But whenever I get a cold, it aggravates my chest more than it would for most people. So 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.
2nd Question: What kind of workout are you scheduled for? Right now, I’m in the Rumble Roller could be a good transition workout from the land of the dead to the land of the living.
3rd Question: 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.
Let’s take P90X2 as an example. So far, I’ve only done P.A.P. Upper for the week, which leaves one more P.A.P. Upper, two P.A.P. Lowers, and Yoga X2. So I could easily resume working out tomorrow and get my workouts in for the week. Now 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. So 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.
So what did I do? I decided that in order to finish P90X2 strong, I’d be better served by an extra rest day than by potentially doing too much too soon. I’ve heard it said that 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. All this sleep is just one more thing my body is trying to tell me and I’m going to choose to listen.
So I’m going to pick up working out tomorrow 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. 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.