How soon can you get back to exercise after being sick?

When the winter months come in, you may find that you come down with a cold or flu-like symptoms. It happens to us all, no matter how hard you try to stay fit and healthy. So, how soon can you get back to exercise after being sick?

How do you know when to stop exercising and what’s the best way of getting back on track? Sometimes it’s not as simple as just picking up where you left off. Let’s face it, working out with a dumbbell in one hand and a tissue in the other is never a good look!

Read on for my top tips on getting back into your exercise routine after being sick. 

Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional if you feel unwell or are unsure whether you should exercise. 

1. Give yourself time

It’s so important to make sure that you’re fully better before starting to workout again. If you’ve been sick for over a week I would give yourself a day or two of good health before getting going again. 

2. Take it easy

Don’t try to make up for lost time by increasing the intensity of your workout. Plan something shorter with lower intensity than you did before you got sick. Keeping a slower pace is less likely to make you feel worse or cause your symptoms to come back. Always take the following day as a rest day to give your body more recovery time. There are plenty of beneficial things you can do on rest days to help speed up your recovery.  

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3. Finish your medication 

Don’t jump back into your workouts if you’re still completing a course of medicine (prescription or over the counter) and ask your doctor if necessary.

4. Stay inside and keep warm

If it’s cold outside it’s best to avoid outdoor cardio as it can weaken your immune system. If you’re travelling to the gym make sure you keep your head and neck warm with hooded sweaters and a scarf.

5. Look after your immune system

It might be a good idea to increase your vitamin C intake and keep topped up with a multivitamin. 

6. Listen to your body

Stay tuned to what your body is telling you. If your symptoms start to come back or you don’t feel 100% ease off and rest up until you feel better. Remember, your health is so much more important. As you start to feel better your fitness will return, so don’t panic!

6. Try the ‘neck check’

In general, it’s ok to exercise at an easy to moderate pace if your symptoms are “above the neck,” such as sneezing or a runny nose, and you have no fever. However, you should not exercise if you have “below the neck” symptoms, like chest congestion or upset stomach, or if you have a fever.


I hope that’s helped answer how soon you can get back to exercise after being sick. When we’re healthy our bodies are designed to cope with the stress of a high intensity workout, that’s what makes us fitter and stronger. However, when we are sick our immune system has taken a beating and won’t cope as well with the stress of your usual workout. That’s why when you’re sick, you need to make sure you take it easy. That doesn’t mean you have to lie around all day, if you feel up to it, try getting some fresh air by going for a short walk, it’ll do you good!

Remember, if you have any questions please email me. I love hearing from you and always answer your messages personally. Send me an email anytime at

Alexia Clark