Exercise when sick

If you are sick with the flu, or if you are in the last stages of sickness, will strenious exercise help, hinder, or do nothing about your recovery?

I remember looking into this once.

For a flu, you’re supposed to rest as much as possible, which means no working out.

For a cold, you can exercise at a reduced intensity and it’s actually beneficial. Just make sure to pack some tissues and properly clean the machine/weights after you’re done.

Those are the general recommendations, I believe.

Hinder. With the flu, you are already running a fever and at risk for dehydration. Exercise only aggravates those two things.

Largely what Bill said.

While actually running a fever, don’t exercise. You’ll just be burning fuel your body needs for other stuff, and you risc both dehydration, tissue damage, and worsening the infection.
Once that is over, resume exercising, but start at a VERY low level. Like a 30 minute walk around the park. If that’s ok, and you don’t excert yourself, pick up the pace, still walking, the next day.
Day after that, a slow jog around said park.
Slowly increase back to your pre-sickness level.

Starting out slow is the fastest way to get back to pre-sickness levels. For longer bouts of largely any infectious disease, keep moving, but don’t excert yourself. Walking, without breaking a sweat, is a great way to rehabilitate.

Thanks, guys, but I think I’ll wait for the advice of a real Qt3 doctor, like DrDel.



GXXXXXXHAHAhahahaha aw crap I thought I was going to be able to keep a straight face

Actually, Sten or Bill, maybe you guys could shed a little light on this: OLG works out maniacally. She does it regardless of whether she’s sick or not. The general rule of thumb she follows is “If you have symptoms only from the neck up, you can work out; if you have symptoms below the neck, you need to rest.” So like sinus stuff, headaches, and the like are fine, but if you start having fluey body aches then you gotta rest. I’m not sure where she heard it, and don’t know what to think. Does that sound real?

note: I think “symptoms” only extend to flu- or cold- like stuff in this axiom. I’m fairly certain that even she would discourage exercising when suffering from other neck-up stuff like a brain aneurism, stroke, or blunt trauma.

My wife is a family physician, and we both workout 4-5 times/wk. Her general rule is if you have ANY fever, do not work out. If you have no fever, then you can work out but at reduced intensity based on how you feel.

Well, it’s kind of a teleological situation. If you exercise regurly, you aren’t as likely to even get sick on average (and/or even if you do “get sick” - acquire some nagging viral/bacterial would-be sick bug - you fight it off with better efficacy) and the general rule of thumb is, as long as exercise doesn’t make you feel significantly worse (the one thing to watch for beyond simple hydration is dizziness - the flu/fever imparts a certain cardiac stress on the body, and exercise obviously may aggravate that), it’s ok. Dizziness, nausea (and DUH vomiting), headache, all of these symptoms if they develop or worsen during exercise should be treated by stopping the workout immediately.

Symptoms “from the neck up” is a bit vague, especially for me as a psychiatrist :), but I take it you mean stuff like a runny nose, or a mildly sore throat, right?
If so, I’d say that she should let the severity of her symptoms dictate her level of training. If she’s the “manic trainer” you say she is, my guess is that you trying to inhibit her would be more hurtful than her over-exercising somewhat.

Two things to watch out for are 1) dental infections and 2) an isolated severely sore throat without a simultaneous cold-symptoms. If she has either of these, I’d have them checked out before exercising to any greater extent.

Don’t listen to these pussies. If you’re not spitting blood you’re not feeling the burn! You’ve got to kick the ass of the bug harder than it’s kicking your ass!*

*Poster is not liable for any consequences of the above advice. Results will vary by individual. Please consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine.

I had the flu, its mostly gone. I still have a small sinus congestion issue, and a little chest congestion that cause me to cough once in a while.

So what I’m reading here is: take advantage of having the flu by stenuously excercising, because you’ll drop more weight!

I’ll keep that in mind when the beer gut creeps back.

DeepT: Start walking. The cough itself will let you know when yo’re pushing too hard.

Moore: I think you’re on to something! Maybe we could start a kind of “Celebrity infectious ward” where we charge extra to have a mean ol’ drill sergeant boss overweight celebrities around an obstacle course? We could even guarantee a weight-loss. We just tell them they’re over-hydrated when we admit them, and then limit not only their food, but their fluids as well. :)
For legal reasons I think it’s best if we build this clinic in a country that doesn’t have an extradition deal with the US…