Do You Exercise When…

in All Posts

Do you exercise when you’re sore?


Muscle soreness that occurs a day or two after working out is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness and is caused by small tears inside the muscles.  While this is normal, if you are really sore, it’s a good idea to take some time off to allow your muscles to repair (source).  If you’re just a bit sore, your body will benefit from light activity, like stretching or a walk (source).  Even if you’ve got DOMS, some movement is good for you – the increased blood flow can speed healing and make you feel less sore overall (source).

Personally, I usually don’t work out if I’m really sore, or I will work out a different muscle group.  My upper body is always sore after swimming, so I follow up with a run or bike.  I never work out when I’m exhausted – it just makes me feel worse!


Do you exercise when you’re sick?


Check out two oldies but goodies —> Can I Run When I’m Sick? and Can Exercise Make You Sick? The general consensus is that if your cold is above the neck (i.e. congestion), you’re okay to run.  If your cold is below the neck (chest congestion, intense coughing, vomiting, or diarrhea), you should continue to rest and let the illness run its course. (Source)


Exercise is, of course, good for you in a number of ways.  One benefit of exercise is that boosts your immune system and helps prevent illness.  In fact, exercise actually increases the production of immunoglobulins (antibodies that attack illness on a cellular level).  Exercise also boosts the production of natural killer cells, which fight cancer.  (Source)  Interestingly enough, intense exercise actually suppresses the immune system.  The suppression can last anywhere from a few hours to several days; the length of the suppression seems to be directly related to how hard and how long you engage in exercise.  That’s why many people catch colds following a marathon!


I usually skip working out when I’m sick – I don’t want to make it worse, and all I really want to do is sit on the couch and watch episodes of House of Cards. Smile


Do you exercise when you’re pregnant?


The rule of thumb is that, if you have a normal pregnancy, you can continue your pre-pregnancy exercise routine while pregnant.  You can start an exercise routine, too, but it shouldn’t be too intense.  Here are the 13 Rules of Safe Pregnancy Exercise.  Additionally, while a lot of women follow a heart rate rule (i.e. don’t get your heart rate above a certain number), I’ve read that it’s better to simply never work out to an intense level on a scale of perceived exhaustion (so if 1 is sitting on the couch watching House of Cards and 10 is an all-out sprint, stick to a 6 or 7).


I exercised the entire time I was pregnant BUT I stopped running in Week 16 or so because it made the ligaments in my hip hurt.  I swam and walked up until 2 days before I delivered, and I definitely think being active helped me give birth safely.


Do you exercise when you’ve got your period?


Here’s a really great article on how your period is impacted by high-activity sports (and how your period impacts your fitness).  Interestingly enough….


Turkish researchers surveyed 241 elite athletes about how their menstrual cycle affected their performance. While nearly three out of four women said they felt worse just before menstruation, 63 percent said that their pain decreased during training and competition and 62.2 percent said that they believed their performance was just as good when they had their period as other times of the month. A West Virginia University study found that female runners performed equally well whether tested during the first half or second half of their menstrual cycles. (Source)

photo (63)

I exercise during Shark Week, but my energy levels are normally pretty low, so I take it easy.  I do think exercise helps alleviate cramping and bloating.


So – what about you?  Do you exercise when you’re sore, sick, or have your period?  Did you exercise through pregnancy?  What stops you from exercising?  Or do you never miss a workout if you can help it?



  • Vikki April 5, 2013, 10:44 am

    My sister-in-law was able to keep running through her first pregnancy, but during her second, she couldn’t. (Her doctor put her on bed rest towards the end of this one because she was having lots of swelling. Turned out that she developed gestational diabetes after they tested for it. ) I think the best rule of thumb for all three of these is to listen to your body. Pain exists for a reason.

  • TanyaS April 5, 2013, 10:46 am

    I’m very goal oriented and am ALWAYS in training for an event of some sort to keep me interested and motivated. This means I always have a training schedule on the go and its a rare occurence that will cause me to miss a training session. I’d have to be laid out unable to move kind of sick to cause me to skip!

  • Emily April 5, 2013, 10:46 am

    During “shark week”…haha!!

    I don’t exercise when I’m sick, but I do if I’m sore! I always fine it makes me feel a 1000x better. Usually, the only thing that stops me from exercising is a super busy work day and happy hour calling my name 😉

  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 5, 2013, 10:49 am

    When I’m tired or sore, workouts always make feel better, even if it takes a bit more motivation to get started.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More April 5, 2013, 10:50 am

    While sometimes it was hard to get my butt out of bed during a heavy cycle, I always used to TRY and get at least some movement because it would usually ease my cramps. Since I don’t really have normal cycles anymore (sorry if that’s TMI), I still continue to work out during that time but am still careful not to over-exert myself and pay attention to when my body has had enough.

  • colleen April 5, 2013, 10:51 am

    I will exercise (different levels of intensity) through anything, but sickness. I am a huge believer that rest is more important than exercise. I loved swimming and water aerobics during my pregancies – right up until I delivered.

  • Kaitlyn April 5, 2013, 10:52 am

    I usually don’t exercise when I’m exhausted…I feel awful if I’m trying to workout but really am dreaming of my bed. I have a bad habit of trying to workout through exhaustion, but it does usually make it worse.

  • Katie April 5, 2013, 11:00 am

    Shark Week!! bahahaha, love it!!! And thank you for so many informative, yet personal posts, I love them!

  • Brooke April 5, 2013, 11:02 am

    Currently, I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I’m still doing zumba twice a week and light weightlifting once a week. I feel great! I’m so glad that I’m able to work-out this long.

  • Jane @ Not Plain So Jane April 5, 2013, 11:03 am

    I totally believe in exercising when your sore. It helps relieve muscle soreness for sure! After the LA Marathon I did some light spinning the next morning for some low-impact movement. I pretty much find some form of exercise great to relieve many aches/pains/illness. Even a light walk when I’m sick will help me feel better!

  • Amanda @ Peanut Butter & Adrenaline April 5, 2013, 11:04 am

    I usually won’t exercise when I’m sick unless it’s just a cold and is starting to subside, and I definitely don’t exercise when I’m exhausted. Otherwise, I go for it. If I’m sore, I’ll take it easy or cut my run short, but I think movement makes it better. Same for period symptoms!

  • Logan @ Mountains and Miles April 5, 2013, 11:06 am

    I always do active recovery. If I have had a really hard running workout, I usually follow up with a “rest” day of only biking. My body actually feels worse if I take the full day off. I’ve never personally been pregnant, but my mom ran 10 miles a day before she got pregnant and continued it all the way through her pregnancy. She was a beast.

  • Catherine April 5, 2013, 11:09 am

    I do exercise when I’m sore, but not when I’m sore from a pulled muscle. It’s a different type of feeling, and I think it’s important for people to know how to distinguish between the two. Definitely yes during periods. However, I always rest when I’m sick. I find that going for a nice walk outside makes me feel better, but I won’t do high-impact activities.

    Exercise during pregnancy is a must in my mind. I was good about it during my entire first pregnancy, but this time I was absolutely miserable during weeks 7-11. Just so darn exhausted. I honestly didn’t work out through the entire month of March. Maybe I was as tired during pregnancy #1, but I was able to get more sleep because I didn’t have a very energetic baby waking me up at 5:30 am. I guess I kind of did get some exercise from chasing her around and constantly picking snack puffs up off the floor.

  • Alyssa April 5, 2013, 11:10 am

    I’ve never been pregnant, but if I didn’t exercise during the other 3, you might as well sign me up for the Biggest Loser right now! Unless I have a fever or bronchitis or something really serious, I usually do it. And I teach, work a second job, and I’m in grad school so if I kind of have to exercise when I’m exhausted (aka when the alarm goes off at 4 or 5 am).

  • Catherine @ A Two Storey Home April 5, 2013, 11:10 am

    I’m a firm believer in the importance of resting when sick. Experience has taught me that if I push it, I’ll end up being sick for longer!

  • Avery @ SBLW April 5, 2013, 11:14 am

    I don’t run when I’m sore, but instead switch to ab/arm work. When one muscle group is sore, I simply do the other groups.

  • Rosamund April 5, 2013, 11:40 am

    That is a great post, I always feel such guilt when I miss a workout and am sure that I am not that only one. It can be so hard to take time off from exercising when you hurt but it really is so important. We always need to remind ourselves that missing one workout wont make us lose any progress or gain any weight, just like completing one workout wont make us fat. I really like the article on running on your period, to be honest I have never really thought about it but it is something I will take into account when I workout from now on.

  • Maren April 5, 2013, 11:45 am

    Sometimes I was a 10 when I was watching House of Cards. haha

  • Sydney April 5, 2013, 11:49 am

    Dang! I spent half of my morning scouring the internet for “should you exercise when sick?” when I should have just tuned in to HTP! Woke up with a head cold this morning and was originally planning a 10-mile slow run. I think I’m gonna take it nice and easy and incorporate walk breaks if needed. Thanks for the advice!

    I was a D1 swimmer in college, so I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to just toughing through it when I’m sore. (Though I do like to switch up exercises or muscle groups now that I have the option!) As for pregnancy, I also felt running was uncomfortable, so I ended up swimming 4-5 2,000M workouts a week up until delivery. Swimming was awesome because I felt so light!

  • Cindy April 5, 2013, 11:53 am

    It depends on how sore I am. Yesterday I had PT and lifted weights. I wanted to spin tonight but my body has other ideas. My knee isn’t happy with all the extra activity from yesterday, so I walked about a 5K and called it a day. I try to listen to my body, and if I’m really sore or feel really ill (or I’m having a bad headache day) I rest.

  • Sarah April 5, 2013, 12:05 pm

    I don’t usually exercise when I’m sick because I figure it’s better to save my energy for fighting off whatever it is. I also have to skip the first day or two of my period unless I have some really good pain medication to help the cramps back off (mine are really bad). However, I’m almost 9 months pregnant and I’ve been exercising pretty much the whole time, minus the first 9 weeks or so because I was worried and just too tired/nauseous to do so. I walk, lift light weights, do the elliptical and swim 5 days a week (not all at once, ha ha).

  • Rebecca April 5, 2013, 12:16 pm

    I read Alberto Salazar’s book 14 Minutes a couple of weeks ago and he talks about running/training through his pain even when his doctor told him not to. He pushed himself and sometimes it got worse but he didn’t care, if I remember right. Interesting read.

  • Jenn April 5, 2013, 12:20 pm

    I can’t help but cringe at the idea of exercise during pregnancy. Although I know it’s super beneficial and healthy it isn’t always the right choice. I cannot stress how important it is to check with your doctor before following ANY type of exercise routine. Whether you’re active before pregnancy or not it’s always a good thing to get medical clearance first.

  • Stephanie April 5, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Just wanted to say how much I love your frank posts like this! The kinds of conversations we have with our girlfriends over coffee etc. I appreciate your honesty, it makes for such relatable posts.

    Also +1 to Maren, there were times HOC had my heart rate up into the next cardio zone!

  • Kattrina April 5, 2013, 12:36 pm

    I tend not to exercise if I’m sick, unless it’s just congestion. Usually I end up with a headache though and I never run when my head hurts, it only makes it worse.

    I walked throughout my pregnancy, but didn’t do much else. I would walk a lot though, up to 5 miles or so a day. I think it’s fine to exercise as long as you have your doctor’s blessing.

    I definitely exercise when I have my period – it never occurred to me to not do it. When I lived in Honduras the women thought it was unsafe to do pretty much anything when you had your period and I always thought it was a strange belief. I always feel a lot better after running! However, in Honduras they don’t have tampons and if it were 100+ degrees out and I had to exercise in a pad, I would probably pretend it was unsafe too – completely uncomfortable.

    And I usually exercise when I’m sore, as long as it’s not because I overdid it. I feel like it helps to ease the pain if I get right back into it.

    Fun questions!

  • Nicole April 5, 2013, 12:40 pm

    OMG House of Cards. KSpace…swooooon

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action April 5, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Good conversation.

    I have no set rule except to listen to my body. Which usually results in me not working out when sick, working out but gently if sore, and working out like regular during my period.

  • Amanda K. April 5, 2013, 12:44 pm

    i’m 31 weeks pregnant and still running…but it’s getting tough. i ran until i was 37 weeks with my first child, we’ll see how far i make it this time. i agree, i think running/swimming/exercise really helps with delivery.
    i just blogged about my running & pregnancy journey yesterday :

  • Taylor April 5, 2013, 12:53 pm

    I have knee issues so anytime they start to hurt I take time off until they are feeling better. Sometimes though just walking is the best form of exercise for me when I am feeling sore.

  • Lekki April 5, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Shark week? Totally awesome.

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery April 5, 2013, 1:18 pm

    Exercise during Shark Week…bahahaha. I think you’re hilarious 🙂

  • Sarah April 5, 2013, 1:42 pm

    AWESOME song choice!! I just bought tickets to their concert today!! ha!

  • Sonia the Mexigarian April 5, 2013, 1:54 pm

    If I am physically exhausted, then I won’t workout. Mentally, a good workout can lift me up. I definitely avoid working out if I’m sick below the neck. When I get chest infections, I can barely breathe so limited lung capacity won’t help a workout 😉 I spit out my tea laughing about shark week.

  • Jess April 5, 2013, 2:32 pm

    “Shark week?” Really? Very empowering.

    • Caitlin April 5, 2013, 2:35 pm

      you must be on shark week right now, too!

  • Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength April 5, 2013, 2:33 pm

    I usually tweak my workouts if I am sore, but still try to do something to get moving. It almost always helps. I always tell my clients to get out and go for a walk if they are sore!! 🙂

  • Katie April 5, 2013, 2:41 pm

    Shark week – ha! Totally stealing that! 🙂 Have a great Shark Week!

  • Ashley April 5, 2013, 2:50 pm

    I always work out when Im sick because of the “sweat it out” theory (which I know isn’t true) but it always makes me feel better for a little while.

  • jen April 5, 2013, 3:10 pm

    so i’m going to be running a 10 mile road race on may 5. probably the first day of shark week. ugh.

    due to, um, structural abnormalities, I can’t use tampons or the diva cup (go go 2 vages and uteruses!). I’ve lucked out on all other races, so any advice of running ten miles with cramps, leakiness, pads, and low energy???

    • Caitlin April 5, 2013, 3:16 pm

      oh MAN. coffee?? lots of it????

  • Jelena@ FabLifePhd April 5, 2013, 4:47 pm

    My workout usually includes run next to the river Rhine and it can get pretty windy. If I am sick I skip that one for sure, but it has to be really bad to make me stay in bed the whole day. I trained karate for 7 years as a teenager and I had terrible cramps during my periods, so I had to skip trainings at least first 2 days (except for that “shark days” and white kimonos do not go really well together). This was always a huge problem, since we had trainings every day and were half-professionals.
    Nowdays, being on pill, I can perform as well as when not having period, but thank godness I don’t have a trainer behind my back 🙂

  • Julie April 5, 2013, 5:26 pm

    I exercised all thru my pregnancy (even did high impact Jazzercise the night before I had her!), but of course everyone’s pregnancy is different; you have to listen to your body (& your doc!). I also exercise when I’m sick (unless, of course, I’m throwing up or REALLY sick); I almost always feel better afterwards. And my exercise habits don’t change during “Shark Week” (LOL!) either, although sometimes if I’m crampy the 1st day I may not be real motivated.

  • Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} April 5, 2013, 7:27 pm

    I tend to exercise through pretty much anything, a cold, soreness, period, etc. The only thing that stopped my from exercising completely for 3 weeks was my recent foot and knee injuries.

  • Amber K April 5, 2013, 7:37 pm

    I never exercise when I’m sick in any way. I can never agree with the “I have never regretted a workout!” Because I totally have and every time it was because I was sick.

  • Casey April 5, 2013, 10:18 pm

    Shark week has me laughing hysterically!

  • Tahlia April 6, 2013, 1:22 am

    I get sick maybe once a year? (I know my immune system is the bomb). So if I do feel sick I just take a break. In regards to ‘that time of month’ I usually take a walk and it makes me feel so much better. I’ve heard sooooo many different things about whether you should exercise while pregnant and have come to the conclusion that someone may run 4+ miles a day right up until birth and someone else may have to rest- its all up to the individual. I hope I can stay active when I eventually decide to have kids!

  • Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages April 8, 2013, 10:05 am

    I am the queen of colds (I get at least 4-5 a year no matter what) and I find that when they first come on it’s better not to exercise even if I’m feeling up to it and then taking a 2-3 day break from working out. At the end of a cold I think working out helps to flush all the stuff out of my nose.

    Working out when I have my period makes me feel so much better. Actually motivating myself to do it sucks, but I find I feel great after.

  • Jacquelyn @justjacq April 8, 2013, 10:51 am

    I’ve never been pregnant, but I want to make sure that I maintain an active lifestyle so that when I am pregnant I can continue that lifestyle safely and be strong to give birth. Exercising on my period is always hit or miss. Sometimes I am so exhausted from it it is all I can do to keep my eyes open during the day. And sometimes I get a weird surge of energy. I just listen to my body and respect what it wants. Although I do always have to double check with myself that I really am listening to my body and not to my brain who is screaming to be lazy!

Healthy Tipping Point