You’re tired and achy. You must be getting a cold or maybe even the flu. Should you tell your trainer you need to work extra hard to build up your immunity, shift your workout to a lower intensity or skip exercise altogether until the bout passes? Most of us get hit with allergies, colds and other minor setbacks throughout the year, but few hard-and-fast rules exist regarding exercise and illness. The next time you’re sick, refer to these do’s and don’ts to help determine whether working out will help or hurt your condition.

DO a check of your symptoms first:

If you have above the neck signs, such as a runny nose, sneezing, or a sore throat; moderate exercise is generally safe as long as you do not have a fever. You can resume intense workouts as soon as symptoms disappear.

If you have below the neck signs, such as extreme tiredness, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, swollen lymph glands, or a hacking cough, allow at least two weeks before returning to intense training. You cannot power away your ailment through more intense workouts

DO modify your exercise intensity:

If you have cold or flu symptoms, you cannot power away your ailment through more intense workouts. In fact, you may make your illness worse. A simple sore throat, for example, could indicate an infection, and your ability to fight it will be reduced if you continue vigorous exercise. Moderate exercise, however, is fine for mild cold symptoms as long your heart rate and body temperature do not increase excessively.

DON’T exercise with a fever:

Fever (a body temperature above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) signifies you are doing battle with a virus. When exercising under these conditions increases risk of dehydration, heatstroke, and even
heart failure.

DON’T over train or stress out:

Over training can lead to suppressed immune function and exposure to opportunistic infections. Attempting new or harder activities can lead to failure. Such stress may influence your immune system. Choosing activities you enjoy and can do consistently may improve your exercise adherence and immune function.

DO exercise to keep your immunity strong:

Researchers have found a link between regular exercise and improved immune function response. During moderate exercise immune cells circulate more quickly through your body and are better at destroying viruses and bacteria.