I'm writing this as I'm laying in bed with a fever/cold and a roll of toilet paper next to me (because for some reason, we never own real tissues). I've been sick for 3 days now and had a fever for two of those days. I think there is definitely something going around in Boulder right now because it seems like everyone is at least kind of sick.
My cold/flus almost always turn into sinus infections, because, according to my doctor, my nasal passageways are too small. Because of that tendency and my awareness of how bad sinus infections suck, I've really been trying to take it easy.
I work from home, so I have actually still worked every day this week, but I haven't run since Sunday. I wrote a blog post several years ago about whether or not you should workout when you're sick, and the main deciding factors should be: 1) Do you have a fever? 2) Are you contagious? and 3) Do you feel too fatigued to do basic daily things? If you answered yes to any of those things and you're not a professional athlete who exercises for money, you probably should skip.
So today, I'd like to outline when I think you should skip your workout completely and when you should just switch to a lighter workout.
Skip it entirely:
1. You're legitimately sick - If you have a fever, a chest cough, you're contagious, you're throwing up or anything like that, you should skip your workout. You don't want to elevate your body temperature more and make yourself sick for longer. And you also don't want to get everyone else at the gym sick too. You'd be doing yourself a favor to rest up.
2. You're injured - If you're injured, or think you might be injured, skip your workout and make a doctor's appointment. It's better to be overly cautious than to further injure yourself and keep yourself off your feet for longer.
3. You're super sunburned - This is another body temperature thing. Your body is already scorched. Don't heat it up with a workout.
4. You just finished a race/competition - Give yourself a break and some time to recover. Your muscles will repair and grow better that way.
5. Fitting it in would mean missing something actually important - Go to your kid's play. Be there for your friend who needs a shoulder to cry on. Don't let your fitness routine turn you into a horrible human being. Pro tip: workout in the morning. These important life things don't usually happen before work.
Just do a lighter workout:
1. It's that time of the month and you feel like junk - Unless you're one of the few people who have PMS so bad that it's completely debilitating, you can probably still workout. Just take it easy and don't schedule a big HIIT workout or a track workout. And if you don't feel up for that, maybe just go on a leisurely bike ride or a long walk.
2. You're sleep deprived - This is a lot of us most of the time. If you really didn't sleep well the night before, I personally wouldn't recommend a hard workout. Swap in a recovery day-type workout and save your hard stuff for a day when you have more energy. You don't want to end up falling off the treadmill cuz that sucks, I know from experience.
3. You drank too much the night before - Light exercise will improve your circulation and help you recover, but a hard workout might make your headache worse. Take it easy.
4. You had a long day at work and just don't feel like it - Come on. You can do something.
Hope this is helpful! Are there any other instances in which you prefer to take it easy or skip? Leave me a comment below!