Should you exercise when sick?

If you’re training for a fun run or have a solid exercise routine, there’s nothing more frustrating than feeling you’re coming down with a cold or flu.

Should you push on with your normal exercise load in the hope it might help your immune system shake off the illness?

Or will that stress your body and make it worse?

It’s an issue even elite athletes face, says David Pyne, a sports scientist and researcher with the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at the University of Canberra.

In general, exercise helps boost your immunity, but pushing yourself too hard can temporarily have the opposite effect.

Add a looming illness into the equation and it’s trickier still, so athletes use a test known as the “neck check”, Professor Pyne says.

In general, if symptoms are from the neck up and not too severe, moderate exercise won’t hurt you and might even be beneficial.

“You might have a sore throat or maybe a runny nose or a slight headache,” he says.”If symptoms are fairly mild, it’s probably OK to go out and undertake some [low- to moderate-intensity] exercise if you’re feeling up to it.”



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