The majority of us, when we’re tired, achy and ill, want to avoid working out as much as possible and snuggle up in bed instead. So at what point does an illness start to hinder a workout so much that you’re actually better off doing nothing?
A general way of identifying if you’re well enough to exercise is the ‘neck rule’. Symptoms above the neck; such as a runny nose or tickly throat should be ok to exercise with. However, it is still suggested that you do not work out to your full intensity to avoid further harm.
So by using that same rule, by default, symptoms that appear below the neck are indicators that exercise should be put on hold for the time being. Stomach pain, diarrhoea and a fever are all symptoms which should put a stop to your exercise plans and get back to bed! Your body needs the necessary time to rest and recover.
Working out with ‘neck down’ symptoms can have more negative effects on your body’s health than positive. Your technique will suffer if you aren’t well, putting you at risk of injury. Plus, it’s likely that you will be dehydrated if you’re feeling unwell, which can cause problems with your muscles functioning properly. Exercise environments are attended regularly and germs can spread relatively easily, which when your immune system is already low, can in turn can prolong the length of you feeling unwell.
If you’re ever unsure about whether you should workout or not, remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even professional athletes require days off to recover too.