Sweat It Out: Best Workouts for When You’re Sick

Being sick is never fun, but it’s even worse when you’re a devoted fitness aficionado. Feeling a little ill can mean needing a few days off, but skipping a workout could throw your routine all out of whack. 

Even if you can’t participate in your usual group TRX class or ultra-intense weight-lifting session, you can still get your sweat on while you’re sick. In fact, a little bit of low-intensity workouts can definitely make you feel better and often heal faster. A nice walk or jog can boost immunity, increase oxygen flow, and clear up a stuffy nose. Just be careful not to overdo it and risk wearing yourself down. So if you’re feeling a little sniffly but still wanna get back on the fitness saddle, here are some ways you can exercise when you’re sick. 

Walking or Jogging

We get it, being stuck inside isn’t fun, and lying in bed all day can actually make you feel worse. Although hitting the pavement for some sprints or going on a strenuous 10-mile hike probably isn’t a great idea, some light walking or jogging can do wonders for a cold. Even just a short 20-minute walk can give you the same benefits of regular exercise while using less energy – something we all lack when we get sick. Because you take in more air while walking or jogging, it’ll help to clear up any congestion, and will get your heart pumping so all you cardio lovers can still get your fix. Plus, getting some fresh air is never a bad idea!


Whether you’re in the midst of a cold or in perfect health, yoga is a go-to workout for increasing flexibility and building strength in a low-impact way. When you’re feeling a little under the weather, a nice yoga flow can help to promote circulation and can even boost immunity. Feeling aches and pains? Yoga can help with that, too. There are tons of poses that relieve tension to ease soreness and will leave you feeling totally zen.

LISS on the Spin Bike 

Love spin so much that you just can’t bear to miss a day? Us too! But sometimes, you gotta make sacrifices for your health. Although you might not be able to make it through a tough spin class, you can still get a little biking in. We recommend staying away from the gym when you’re sick (so many germs!), but if you’re determined to ride, a Low-Intensity Steady-State (LISS) onDemand Spin class, like this one, is the way to go. It gives you a light cardio boost, but without the heavy load on your lungs. 

Water Aerobics 

Being sick can really drain your energy, making it hard to do intense workouts, so you probably won’t be swimming laps. But you can still get in the water by doing a gentler workout like water aerobics. It’ll give you the same movements, but with a little extra help from the water holding you up. It’s great for building up strength without using up what little energy you do have. The moisture in the air can also be super helpful for clearing up your nose, just try to keep your head above water to avoid any extra irritation.

If you’re feeling worse than just a cold (we’re talking fever and chills), definitely get back in that bed and rest up. But if you do choose to get some exercise in when you’re not feeling your best, be sure to take it slow.

Missing out on a workout is no fun, especially if the alternative is cough drops and tissues. So if you’re looking for a way to still get that group class in from the comfort of your own home, check out a 7-Day Free Trial from Studio SWEAT onDemand. Our huge library of onDemand workouts feature passionate trainers and classes like TRX, HIIT, and Spin, plus low-impact workouts like yoga and Pilates. Remember, it’s all about feeling better, so make sure you listen to your body, even if that means an extra rest day… or three.

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