Should I run or exercise when I am not feeling well?

Should I run or exercise when I am not feeling well?

As we get deeper into our training schedule, we hate to miss a run, fearing that we will lose some of the fitness that we have gained. But what if you start to feel a bit under the weather? The winter weather seems to bring a fresh crop of viruses with it and the spring weather brings all types of allergens in the air. Running and being physically active is a boost to the immune system and does wonders for your mental state of mind.

Most doctors agree that you should use the “neck rule” when deciding if you are well enough to run.

If you have symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body aches, fever, fatigue), you should rest until you are feeling better. If you have a fever over 99 degrees, you should skip the run because your core body temperature can rise—which is not a good idea! Give your body a chance to rest and allow your immune system to help fight the illness.

If you have symptoms above the neck (runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing), then by all means, get out there! But, if those symptoms feel like they are progressing to something more serious like a sinus infection with pressure in the nasal cavities, then you should take a rest for a few days. Sometimes even when a fever isn’t present, sinus infections can lead to pneumonia.

Below is a handy flow chart that you can use to determine if you are well enough to run.