How Long After The Flu Can You Exercise?

Your exercise program is on track, and the month has been going great. Everything was chugging along smoothly until you noticed cold or flu symptoms creeping up on you. What do you do next?


In this case, can you carry on exercising or should you wait until you feel better, and if so, how long should you wait?

The guidelines on when to start exercising again after respiratory infections like the flu, colds or bronchitis are vague. Each person's reaction to an illness differs so much that everyone will have a unique experience. 


Is it the flu or a cold?

Rhinoviruses, which commonly cause runny noses, sneezing, coughing, sore throats and mild gland swelling, are all telltale signs of colds. A cold typically lasts about a week, so if any of your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, see a doctor. 


Neck test

The good news is that, depending on how you feel, you can still exercise even if you experience symptoms above your neck, like a runny or congested nose or sore throat. You should rest and take a break from exercise if you experience any symptoms below the neck, like a stuffy nose, sore muscles and joints, or a fever.


Take a heart rate reading

As soon as you wake up, take your resting heartbeat, or pulse and count the beats. An adult's normal resting heartbeat should range from 60 to 100 beats per minute, depending on your size and general fitness. If your heart rate is higher than usual or increases drastically as soon as you begin exercising, you’re not physically prepared to exercise.


Check your breathing

You should not exercise if you’re unusually short of breath or have phlegm in your chest.


Finish your antibiotic course

Even if your symptoms are improving, it’s crucial that you complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed, especially if they were given for a serious infection like bronchitis.  


Good to know

After being sick, listen to your body, rest when you need to and ease your way back into your normal exercise routine. Avoid overexerting yourself if you have a cold. You might feel worse and struggle to recover because of this. Wait until your symptoms have disappeared and when you have gained enough strength and until your body decides you’re ready to go for it again!


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.