Is it safe to train while sick?

Winter is around the corner, and with winter comes the inevitable susceptibility to the dreaded lurgy; cold and flu like symptoms. We know that when we are sick we should rest, but we also know that we really, really want to keep our exercise routine sizzling. So can we exercise whilst battling the sniffles?

The answer is yes, and no. Generally if your symptoms are above the neck then it is okay to exercise: 

  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Blocked nose
  • Headaches*

* If you have a headache, it is usually okay to exercise as exercise is used as a treatment method in patients with chronic headaches or migraines. However if your headache is accompanied by coughing, diarrhea, nausea or other ‘below the neck’ symptoms, then it is advised against exercising.


If your symptoms are below the neck then it is usually advised against exercising:

  • Coughing
  • Tight chest
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever or chills (any temperature over 37.5ºC)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea


The key thing to remember is to listen to your body. If your body is in pain or you feel weak, it is time to rest, as this could be a sign of your body fighting an infection. However, if you have given exercise the green light, as the symptoms presented are above the head, consider exercising at a lower intensity and/or shorter time periods than you would when in normal health. With that being said, get those Asics on, and keep chasing that summer exercise routine in the colder months.


Exercise Right Blog


Angelo Sabag is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a passion for people.