Can I Work Out If I Have a Cold or the Flu?

Motivation 101

Published on 1 November 2018
by Élodie Lévesque-Filiatreault

When you’re sick, deciding whether to work out or not is a common dilemma. Sometimes, simply having a cold or flu can be reason to miss a workout. But these harmless viruses shouldn’t become an excuse. You may wonder if it’s possible to work out when you’re sick. The answer is yes–but be sure to use your common sense.


Assess your symptoms

If your symptoms are too severe and your chest is congested, if you have a serious cough, extreme fatigue, aches and chills, or if you have a fever, working out is not advised. If your immune system is already weakened by your cold or flu, working out will just weaken you further and delay your recovery.


However, if your symptoms are mild, such as a small cough, a runny or stuffed up nose, or a sore throat, no problem! You can work out as usual or lower your intensity slightly.


Listen to your body

Obviously, if you find yourself feeling unwell, dizzy, or are experiencing any other unpleasant symptoms during a workout, stop! Don’t force things if you aren’t feeling well: your body is telling you that it needs to rest.


Working out with a common cold, for example, can be beneficial. In fact, physical activity can help your nasal or sinus congestion pass, as it helps drain excess mucus. In these cases, the immune system benefits from the stimulation of physical activity.


At the risk of disappointing some, it is possible to work out when you are sick, but it is sometimes better to stay home, especially if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms with a fever. You should also avoid coming in contact with others while you are contagious.


 You can work out even with a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose.

 Avoid working out if you have a fever, chills, extreme fatigue, chest congestion, a stomach ache, or headache.

Élodie Lévesque-Filiatreault
B. SC. Communication and Polics and Digital Content Specialist at Énergie Cardio
First sales and customer service advisor in a gym and then assistant director and now specialist in digital content for Énergie Cardio, she will motivate you to achieve your goals! In her articles, she will share with you inspiring stories from members of the Énergie Cardio network, as well as tips and tricks for active and healthy living that are used by Énergie Cardio employees!