Exercise do’s and don’ts when you have flu

Some of us are ‘die hards’ when it comes to exercise. But are we doing our bodies any harm if we exercise while ill? Resident fitness gurus, Emile Solomons and Heinrich from N2 Fitness Smith tell us what exercises we can and can’t do when we are sick.

Regular moderate exercise may be just what the doctor ordered to prevent you from getting a cold or flu this season. Exercise can help strengthen your immune system and fight bugs.

Do moderate intensity exercises such as daily walks or do gym exercises every day or every other day. This type of activity can help to boost your immune system and fight infections.

It’s usually safe to exercise when you have a cold or flu as long as you ‘listen’ to your body. However, don’t exercise if you are on any medication as there will be extra stress put on your heart. After you’ve been sick on medication, it’s important to wait a few days before getting back into your regular exercise routine.

The rules, when it comes to exercising when you are ill, aren’t entirely black and white. Sometimes when you’re sick, exercise can make things worse and prolong your recovery time. But other times, there’s no need to stay under the duvet covers.

Here are some general guidelines with regards to exercise when you have a cold or the flu:

High fever – no exercise
Runny, blocked nose or sneezing – exercise
Coughing and tightness in the chest – no exercise
Sore throat – consult your doctor
Extreme fatigue, aches and pains – no exercise
Taking medications for cold or flu – consult your doctor
Chills – no exercise
Nausea or upset stomach – no exercise

Best and worst exercise to do when you have a cold or flu


Endurance running
Team sports
Lifting weights