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Sports Features and You Are Sick

Sports Features and You Are Sick

Exercise when sick

  • Does exercise protect against diseases?
  • Does exercise cure diseases?
  • When do you return to exercise after illness?
  • Summary

Regular exercise is an excellent way to keep your body healthy. In fact, exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, help maintain weight and strengthen the immune system.

While there is no doubt that exercise plays an important role in improving health, many people wonder whether performing exercise when sick will help or hinder the healing process 
The answer is not black and white, this article explains when the exercise is good and when it is bad in case of illness.

Exercise when sick

Does exercise protect against diseases?

If you want to protect yourself from colds and fevers, regular exercise may be a strong supporter of your immunity. Studies have shown that moderate exercise - about 30 to 45 minutes per day of activities such as walking, cycling or jogging - can halve your risk of respiratory infections and other common winter diseases.

Dr. Bruce Barrett, professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, says there is some evidence that very intense exercise - such as a marathon can briefly reduce your immune function. But in general, physical activity is a great way to protect yourself from diseases.

Other experts such as David Nieman, Professor and Director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, agree: "The immune system needs activity to do its job better." "Every time you exercise, circulation improves and important immune cells increase."

Niemann adds: "Exercise is useful for prevention, but it may be poor for treatment."

Does exercise cure diseases?

Research by Paul State University showed that moderately performing exercise when ill has no effect on the duration or severity of the common cold. "If you have symptoms such as sinus, nasal congestion, sore throat, etc., exercise does not help and does not harm," says Niemann.

Adding: "But if you have flu or other forms of systemic infection causing fever, exercise is a bad idea."

In the 1940s during the polio epidemic, some researchers noted that athletes who played a high-intensity game of football were colliding with the most severe forms of polio. This observation led to the follow-up of studies on the way viruses respond to exercise in both primates and humans.

The content of these studies was that the body with influenza could react very poorly to physical activity, and therefore the idea of sweating in order to expel the disease is the craziest idea ever.

Professor of Health Education at Wayne State University says: "You never exercise with flu or fever."

When a person suffers from influenza or other types of fever-causing infection, their immune system works overtime to combat this infection. Exercise is a form of physical stress that makes the function of the immune system more difficult.

 When do you return to exercise after illness?

Once your illness subsides, wait a whole week before you go back to your training routine. Start by hiking, then introduce to mild workouts such as a short trot. By the end of the second week after having a fever, if you feel better, you can return to your usual training.

If you have any pain or muscle weakness, you should wait until it disappears before trying to do strong exercises. You may feel you can pressure yourself to heal, but that's wrong, big mistake.

Like a broken arm or a twisted ankle, your weak body from influenza needs time and rest to fully heal before it can cope with the rigors of exercise.


When you experience symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, muscular impairment, fever or a produced cough, it is best to rest for some time from the gym to recover. However, if you have a mild cold or have some nasal congestion, there is no need to leave the workout permanently.

If you feel healthy enough to perform exercises but lack your usual energy, reducing exercise intensity or length is a great way to stay active.

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