Should You Exercise When You're Sick?

Kayla Itsines lends her expert opinion.

Sometimes, just the faint inkling of a sore throat is enough to make you want to skip your workout. But, if you’re legitimately feeling sick, should you work out?
I think that it depends on what type of illness you have. If it is your “normal” cold with a runny nose and a sore throat, you should still be okay to exercise. But, only if you feel up to it. On the other hand, if you’re struck down with the flu and are lying in bed with a fever that is where you should stay! Exercising with a fever may make you even sicker due to the further increase of your internal body temperature.
I firmly believe you should listen to your body when you are sick. If you are feeling under the weather maybe turn your HIIT session into a long walk or do some yoga instead of a boxing class. If you miss a few sessions that’s perfectly okay, our bodies need rest if we want them to function properly. Slogging it out at the gym when you are feeling under the weather may make you feel worse instead of better.

You can also do a ‘neck check’, this refers to your symptoms. If they are above the neck such as a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and a cough then you are probably okay to workout (although it definitely does not mean you have to). If your symptoms are below the neck such as body aches and pains, stomach pain, nausea, and chest pain then you are best to sit it out. Remember exercise is an immunity booster, meaning if you do it regularly you will boost your immune system. However, when you’re sick it is time to rest.
Sweat with Kayla
When healthy, our bodies are designed to cope with the stress of a tough workout, they respond to it and this is what makes us fitter and stronger. When we are sick our immune system has taken a beating and will not cope well with the stress of your regular workout. This is where you need to learn to take it easy, this doesn’t mean you have to laze around like a couch potato all day. Simply go for a walk or a bike ride, getting some fresh air will be good for you!
Nourishing your body will also work wonders. Below, find my top foods to eat when you are sick.

DIY Popsicles

popsicles, sick, fitness, exercise, wellness

Simply freeze 100% fresh juice freeze to make your own popsicles. They will help to soothe a sore throat and give you some hydration

Vegetable Juice

vegetable juice, wellness, fitness, sick

If the last thing you feel like doing when sick is chopping up a salad having a glass of fresh vegetable juice is an easy way to get nutrients. My favourite combo is beetroot, celery, carrot, ginger, apple, and pear.


garlic, sick, fitness, wellness

While garlic isn’t the most pleasant to chomp on, it has anti-microbial properties that are good for healing viruses. Try roasting some with other veggies to bring out the sweetness.


sick, wellness, exercise, Kayla Itsines

This is another one of my favourites when sick. Ginger is great for soothing stomach aches and nausea, it may also help to fight inflammation. Try freshly grating it into other foods or having ginger tea if it is too strong for you fresh.

Broth-based soup

chicken soup, sick, fitness, exercise

Ahhh the old chicken soup wives’ tale! Chicken soup is actually great for making you feel better because chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine which helps to thin mucus in the lungs. The hot broth helps to keep your nasal passages clear and it also prevents dehydration. If you are vegetarian try miso as an alternative.
I hope these tips have helped, and remember if you are sick rest up! You finally have the perfect excuse to catch up on your TV shows.
Kayla xx

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