Should You Workout When You’re Feeling Off?


We’ve all had those days. You may not officially be under the weather. Or you may be. One thing is for certain: you’re not 100 percent. Should you workout or stay home? In some circumstances, it may be best to put your feet up. But in other cases, it’s fine to work out. In fact, it can help you feel better and shorten an illness. Before you decide, consider these six questions. They will help you decide whether to hit the treadmill or hit the couch.


  • How Are You Feeling From The Neck Up? That may sound like the start of a joke but it’s a serious question. If you have the sniffles or a slight headache, you’re probably fine to workout. Just focus on some low to moderate exercise. But if you have any discomfort below the neck, such as chest congestion or joint aches, stay home. Same with fever. If you’re running hot, shut it down.
  • Sweat It Out. If you have enough energy to tolerate it, and you’re feeling good from the neck up, increasing your body temperature by sweating from exercise may help you combat viruses. In general, moderate-intensity exercise improves immune function and reduces risk and severity of infections. So, hitting the gym in the early stages of an illness can be a good strategy.
  • Check Your Pulse. That’s a smart and easy way to monitor your gym readiness. Place your thumb on your inner wrist and see how that blood is pumping. If your pulse rate is racing, even just 10 percent above normal, fire up the Netflix for the night.
  • Where Did That Bruise Come From? Mystery bruises are one of life’s curiosities. They can come from banging your leg on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You may not even remember doing it. Or they could come from intense exercise. If something suddenly shows up, take it seriously. If you can connect it to a workout, check in with a doctor. You will want to rule things out.
  • Breaking Out of a Slump. Sometimes you may feel a bit for person reasons. Physically you may be fine. But your mood is low. In that case, exercise is a great idea. A good workout can go a long way toward lifting your spirits. If you’re feeling a bit down, lace up those shoes.  
  • You’ll Be Fine Either Way. We know you love the feeling of getting in a vigorous workout. It’s the best feeling in the world. But if the worst thing is you have to stay on the sidelines for a day, or even a few days, don’t fret. You won’t lose your fitness. It would take a few weeks off before you’d notice any dip in conditioning. So be gentle with yourself.