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Personal trainer tips: Exercising when you are not feeling well

We sometimes get asked what exercise you should do when you’re ill, tired, or just generally not feeling great. If you’re feeling really ill then you’ll probably not be up for exercising, but sometimes you may not be feeling 100% and are unsure about what to do. Here are a few pointers for you:

Cold / flu symptoms

In this scenario you can go by what’s called the ‘neck rule’, so if your symptoms are above the neck (sneezing, sinuses, blocked, minor sore throat nose etc) then you should be fine to do some light exercise. Always listen to your body and stop if you start feeling progressively worse, but a brisk walk, light jog or light weight session shouldn’t harm and may actually make you feel a bit better.

Certainly don’t go as intense as you might when you’re 100% well, but if your body will allow it, then keep some exercise going.

If symptoms are below the neck (congested chest, upset stomach etc) then you’re better off taking it easy, resting up and beginning light exercise again when the symptoms ease up.

Feeling tired

If you train early in the morning, or after work, there’s a good chance you’re going to feel tired before working out. But, once you’ve got that session done, you’ll feel really energised, awake, alert, and positive – so don’t let tiredness be an excuse to miss a session!

If you don’t quite make it to the gym, then why not do a session at home? There are lots of bodyweight workouts you can find online, they don’t take up much time and you can get that workout in from the comfort of your own home and still have the rest of the evening to relax.

Sore from a previous workout

One of the best things to do here is another workout! Don’t give in to the DOMs (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) - working out will increase circulation which will help. Make sure you have plenty of protein in your diet and make sure you stretch / foam roll regularly to help you stop feeling stiff.

The main point to remember is to listen to your body. If the exercise you’re doing is making you feel worse, then consider dropping the intensity or have a bit of time out.

If you need any further guidance, you can get in touch with our expert personal trainers in Bristol by calling 0117 403 7600, or email

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