Many studies and articles will tell you that if you exercise regularly you will be healthier, which will lead to a stronger immune system, which means you will be less likely to become sick with everyday illnesses like colds and flu.

womanFair enough; all of that makes sense. But how many of you have started a new exercise regime, with all the good intentions of sticking to it, and then winter comes around and you become ill. Surely exercising when you are sick is the very last thing on your mind, especially since you may feel like you’re barely able to even get out of bed, let alone go do 30 minutes of cardio.

Some people think that you should push yourself to continue your exercise routine, as this will help speed up the healing process, but others may think that exercising when you are sick may actually be dangerous.

So what is the right answer?

If you start experiencing the symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a sore throat, runny or congested nose, or coughing, you can still continue to exercise very moderately. Swap the running and strenuous cardio for some walking or yoga instead. And make sure that you exercise indoors in a warm area while wearing warm exercise clothing. Avoid going to the gym as you may expose yourself to even more bacteria and you can also expose other to your illness.

Any exercise should be avoided if you are experiencing muscle pains, joint pains, fever, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting, light-headedness, nausea, or listlessness.

If you decide to continue exercising when you are sick but any of your illness symptoms increase or persist you should stop training and make a plan to go see a doctor.

fitnessOnce your illness starts improving it is a good idea to wait one more day before returning to your exercises. However is any of the symptoms return you should consult with your doctor again and stop your training.

Coughing and breathing problems, as well as fever, pose some of the most serious risks when you’re exercising and should be considered carefully.

If your joints or muscles hurt, as they often do during a serious episode of flu, then don’t try to strain them any further with exercise.

If you have a headache or fever, then chances are good that you can damage your body with exercise.

If you’re having trouble breathing properly because of a respiratory infection, then exercise will only worsen those symptoms and you may not be able to get enough oxygen into your body during your workout.

Listen to your body and make a clear, rational decision to do what’s best for it to aid the healing process and recover from your illness quicker.