Exercise and Illness or Injury

If You Are Sick

If you have a fever you should not exercise. Allow your body to rest and heal. Once the illness is over, you may start your exercise again. Wait until you have been free of fever for at least 48 hours before starting to exercise again.

Woman sick in bedNever try to sweat out a fever. Fever and exercise are a bad combination. They can make the infection worse and even cause a potentially fatal condition of the heart muscle called myocarditis.

If you exercise when you are sick, your body may have to work harder than when you are well.

If You Have Unusual Symptoms

It is important to know what is normal and what is not normal with exercise. Pain is not normal. When something is different or not normal, stop. If you think you have a problem, get help.

When you start exercising again after an illness, you will need to reduce the amount and intensity of your exercise.

What Is Normal What You Should Be Concerned About
Faster heart rate
  • Chest pain or discomfort down arm
  • Heaviness in your chest
  • New episode of irregular heart beats
Breathing deeply
  • Extreme breathlessness with light to moderate activity
Breathing faster
  • Wheezing
  • Inability to catch breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Numbness
  • Pain of any kind


Learn to Treat Minor Injuries Early

The RICE Method

R – Rest the injured area. The amount of rest depends on how badly you are hurt. With most minor injuries, it is safe and actually helpful to continue a low level of activity. Use pain as your guide.

Icecube trayI – Ice should be applied to the injured area. Cold reduces swelling, bleeding and pain. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin. Wrap the ice or ice pack in a wet cloth. A general rule is to apply ice for 15 minutes followed by 45 minutes without the ice pack. Repeat this process for the first 3 hours. After that, two 15 minutes ice treatments each day will be enough. Don’t apply heat during the first 24 to 36 hours. Heat tends to increase swelling.

C – Compression or gentle pressure used with the ice can limit swelling. Apply compression evenly by wrapping an elastic bandage around the injured part. Do not wrap the bandage too tightly; you don’t want to cut off blood flow. If the bandage is too tight or if you experience numbness, cramping or pain, or if swelling is severe, loosen the wrap then reapply.

E – Elevate the injured part above the level of the heart, even while sleeping if possible. Gravity prevents pooling of blood and other fluids, improves blood flow and reduces swelling.

See a doctor immediately if:

  • The pain or swelling is severe
  • You can’t move the injured part
  • The injury doesn’t seem to get better
  • Home treatment hasn’t helped after a reasonable period of time

If in doubt, play it safe and see a doctor.