Should You Exercise When You Are Not Feeling Well?

From yoga to crossfit, no matter what you practice, there’s pleasure in fitness. It’s no wonder that many of us love to exercise and do it quite regularly. Making and working towards new goals is extremely satisfying, and putting in the upkeep to maintain your personal health is a great way to care for yourself.

With this in mind, we push our bodies to embrace this new active lifestyle, training regime, food choices. Everything’s going according to plan, we’re feeling more energetic and positive until, suddenly, we are not feeling well…

There are many explanations as to why this could be, but let’s talk about your immune system response.

So, you’re feeling sick and you’re questioning your plans to go for that body pump class or a run in your favorite park. What to do? To exercise or not. On the one hand, exercise is part of the formula for keeping healthy, but you don’t want to do anything to make yourself feel worse.

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer, as we are all biochemically unique. How every individual’s health is affected by exercise will be very, very different. Remember that it’s best not to compare yourself with anyone else.

So, what should you consider?

Your training history matters. Athletes who train regularly have a system and strategies to adjust their routine as is frequently necessary. They have a team of people to help with tests, adaptations, and progress on every step of the way. For the average “gym goer,” exercising maybe 1-3 times a week at the most, doing different activities or just free-forming it at the gym, it’s not going to be that simple. You need to train over a period of time to really understand your body’s rhythm.

The way your body reacts as you recover from viruses and infections matters. This is your immune response, which includes a lot of biochemical interactions that can potentially be affected dramatically if you decide to exercise while you’re unwell. The immune system is already under a huge amount of stress combatting the illness, so long and intense workouts can suppress it even more.

So why does your immune status matter? And what can you do to improve, support and encourage it to recover faster? Can add certain exercises to your routine help during recovery?  Which factors will matter the most?

Each of following factors must be considered when making this important decision: to exercise or not while unwell:

– Genetics

– Innate/specific immunity

– Lifestyle

– Nutrition

– Supplementation

– Pathogens exposure, or

– Training regime… 

Yelena PaulYelena Paul – founder of Mango Fitness,
Master of Arts Degree in Physical Education with Honours – Physiology, Anatomy, Sports Medicine, Biomechanics, Biochemistry, Children’s Development and Training, Psychology, a member of REPs (the national register of exercise professionals), Nutrition Society and the Association of Naturopathic Practitioners.