Is your “healthy” exercise program compromising your immune system? Or is exercising under the weather sabotaging workouts?


Let’s face it: the gym is a great tool and exercise can significantly boost energy. However, if the gym participant is stricken with a seasonal illness or respiratory disease, is exercise the simplest course of action?

Aspects of our system react adversely following a significant exercise, like the skin, higher tract, respiratory organs and muscle tissue… and therefore, the blood. Many immunologists feel that in this window of inopportunity when intense exercise, viruses and bacterium could potentially gain an edge, elevating the danger of catching an infection may include going to a public gym.

Mild to moderate physical activity is safe even with the presence of a cold or seasonal illness, provided there’s no fever resulting from the pathogen. Exercise could even potentially relieve delicate congestion within nasal passages.


If a client’s symptoms are present above the neck — liquid nose, inflammatory disease or physiological — most physicians will only endorse delicate to moderate exercise. However, once symptoms occur below the neck, such as wheezing, coughing or stomachic distress, athletes may consider skipping the gym — thus removing the potential of spreading germs — and choosing rest prior to returning. Reducing the intensity of an exercise can also prove useful, as long as the exercise doesn’t require clients to overexert themselves in any way.

While it is tempting for trainers to encourage clients to “work through” their seasonal symptoms in an attempt to keep up with scheduled training and maintain what results have already been obtained through dedication, it is proven that taking one to three days off (in a row, nonetheless) will not make a significant impact when sustaining a current fitness goal. Strength as well as the appearance of one’s physique will likely remain unchanged. However, a client/gym participant DOES risk the possibility of going out there and become significantly worse-off than before.


All in all, we should shift our gears to understanding when the best option is to counsel rest for an active gym participant… and clients should have a decent read on their overall health and whether or not the gym is a good idea at a time. Remember, the goal is to become healthy and advance in the area of physique… we should be doing this without compounding any problems when a seasonal illness has been contracted.