Working Out When You're Sick: A Do or a Don't

It’s official. I have a sick fiancé.

Poor Ryan came home from work yesterday feeling stuffy and achy. We took it easy last night, thinking he might wake up feeling better.

Not the case. He is very congested and feels sick every time he stands up.

Needless to say, he’s home from work for the day. He thought he might be able to go in after lunch, but didn’t feel any better by the time noon rolled around.

Lucky for him, I work less than two miles from our apartment, so I was able to swing by at lunchtime to bring him a hot meal.

I stopped by Pei Wei and ordered the Mongolian beef, Ryan’s favorite meal, to go. I also substituted the white rice for egg noodles because Pei Wei’s noodles are doughy and delicious!

Pei Wei

When I arrived at our apartment with a Pei Wei bag in hand, Ryan’s eyes lit up.

We split the meal between us, though I got all of the mushrooms and Ryan got the majority of the beef.

Mmm, Beefy

I loved all of the scallions!

For dessert we each enjoyed a fortune cookie.

Behold... The Future.

Well, I ate my cookie on the way to our apartment as an appetizer… but Ryan ate his at the appropriate time. 😉

Check out my fortune:


Not too shabby!

Working Out When You’re Sick: A Do or a Don’t

Ryan’s sick state, coupled with an email I received from blog reader Simone, inspired me to touch on working out when you’re feeling under the weather.

Sick as a Dog

As a general rule of thumb, I think that if you’re feeling sick, your body needs rest and nurturing, not sweat sessions at the gym. However, I totally understand the desire to get a good work out in when you’re not throwing up or feeling nauseous.

Of course, I am no expert, but when I am trying to decide whether or not to work out when I don’t feel my best, I use these tips:

  • Does the thought of a workout exhaust you? If simply imagining yourself working out makes you feel exhausted, skip the gym.
  • Simply sniffles? If you’re simply fighting a case of the sniffles and generally feel okay otherwise, a workout is probably okay. Just be sure to clean off any machines and equipment you use!
  • Tone it down. If you’re just starting to feel better and want to get back into the gym, try working out at a lower intensity. Take a yoga class, walk on the treadmill or enjoy a light workout on the elliptical with a magazine. Ease back into your normal intensity workouts. You don’t want to exhaust yourself on your first day back in the gym.

I really love the Mayo Clinic’s approach to working out when you’re sick:

  • Proceed with your workout if your signs and symptoms are “above the neck” — such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or sore throat. Be prepared to reduce the intensity of your workout if needed, however.
  • Postpone your workout if your signs and symptoms are “below the neck” — such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach. Likewise, don’t exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.

If you choose to exercise when you’re sick, listen to your body. If your signs and symptoms get worse with physical activity, stop and rest. Resume your workout routine gradually as you begin to feel better.

Of Possible Interest


  1. Andrea says

    I agree what you say but I would add, if you are working out at a gym in which everyone uses, do the non sick people a favor, and stay home or do something outdoors.


  2. says

    awww poor ryan! i was sick last week & what he has sounds just like what i had. 🙁 bummer. i totally follow the above/below the neck rule too. it’s just important to listen to your body. i ran twice last week (once when i was getting sick, the other time when i thought i was better). the 2nd time was such a mistake! fortunately i was feeling up to a 5k i had already registered for on sat but i just took it easy and did the best i could. you don’t wanna end up sicker because you’re stubborn!


  3. Nicola says

    I never know what to do when i’m sick, even if I do have a runny/blocked nose it is so annoying having to take tissues with you. I have had a blocked/runny nose like all winter it is so annoying!
    Being sick and missing sessions always stuffs me around, I end like not going again for like 2 weeks.
    Hope ryan is feeling better!



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