Exploring the Conundrum: Should We Stop Doing Sports When We Are Ill? Let’s Demystify the Received Ideas!

If you've ever asked yourself whether you should stop doing sports when you're feeling under the weather, you're not alone. Studies show that many people struggle to decide whether to continue exercising or take a break until they are feeling better. So, what's the best course of action? In this article, we'll explore the conundrum of continuing or stopping sports activities when ill, and take an in-depth look at the received ideas surrounding the issue. By uncovering the nuances and uncovering the facts, we'll try to get to the bottom of this perplexing question and help readers make the best decision for themselves.

Deploy Folding Table of contents

When it comes to pushing our physical boundaries, the topic of exercise and illness is an often-contested area. Many of us have second-guessed ourselves at some point; when we feel a little off, should we push through and exercise, or take a rest day? The debate around this conundrum is complex, as there is no straightforward answer. In this article, we will explore the nuances and considerations for exercising when unwell, and demystify some of the common misconceptions around this topic.

Unraveling the Debate: Should You Rest When Sick or Push Through?

When it comes to deciding whether to exercise when unwell, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone’s body is different, and responses to exercise are individual. Any decision to exercise when feeling unwell needs to be weighed up on a case-by-case basis. Whilst some symptoms such as a mild cold or headache may not prevent you from exercising, more serious conditions such as fever or chest infection will usually require rest.

Navigating The Complexities: When Illness and Exercise Collide

Making the right decision when deciding to exercise often comes down to judgement, intuition and common sense. You’re likely to know your body better than anyone, so it is important to listen to it. If you’re struggling to make a decision, consider the severity and type of illness. For example, a mild cold is likely to be easier to manage than a serious chest infection. Additionally, some types of exercise are more likely to exacerbate symptoms than others. For example, swimming or easy jogging may be more manageable than a kickboxing class with its high-impact motions.

Examining the Evidence: Are There Benefits of Exercise When Unwell?

Whilst it is sensible to rest when feeling unwell, that doesn’t mean that exercise is completely off the table. In some cases, exercise can actually help to improve recovery, as long as it is done in the right way. For example, low-impact exercises such as Pilates, gentle yoga or swimming can help to improve your mood, reduce and enhance circulation, which can help your body to recover from illness.

Shedding Light on the Question: What Do the Experts Advise?

Generally, experts advise that it is best to rest when unwell; however, this isn’t a hard and fast rule. Taking a rest day when feeling unwell could be the best decision, but there are also situations in which exercising could be beneficial. For example, light exercise can help to improve mood, reduce stress and improve recovery. Ultimately, the decision to rest or exercise should come down to an individual’s own judgement, and in some cases speaking to a doctor or health professional can help to get clarity.

Debunking Common Misconceptions: Reframing Our Thinking About Sports and Illness.

When it comes to pushing our physical boundaries, it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Deciding to exercise when unwell should come down to an individual’s own judgement, and the severity and type of symptoms should be taken into account. Rather than seeing exercise and illness as mutually exclusive, it is possible to use exercise in a moderate and healthy way to help recovery.

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the conundrum of exercise and illness. With the right judgement and advice from professionals, it is possible to use exercise in a moderate and healthy way to improve recovery, as long as potential risks are weighed up.


  • Taylor, A. (2017). Exercise and the common cold: a and . , 51(17), 1209-1215.
  • Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines, American College of Chest Physicians. (2012). ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd ed.). Chest, 141(2).
  • Kelley, G. A., Kelley, K. S., & Trilk, J. (2008). Effects of on mood in obese adults. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 48(2), 133-141.

4.7/5 - (12 votes)