Is Exercise Making You Sick?

Keep an eye on your training.

It may seem strange to hear that exercise can make you sick… but it is true. Of course, there are a few reasons for it and we’ll look at them in this article. Don’t let this discourage you from exercising though. There are too many benefits accrued from exercise to be ignored. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

There are ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. But initially, if you do get sick, just know that it’s part and parcel of exercising and that you will get better. Now let’s see how you get sick.

• Immune system

If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, when you first begin to exercise, it will be a shock to your body. That is why your first two weeks should only be light exercise. If you do strenuous workouts, these will really tax your immune system. 

Women who are severely overweight may struggle with light workouts. So, even light workouts can affect your immune system depending on your level of fitness.

The key to avoiding infections such as sinuses, common colds, coughing, sore throats, etc. is not to train too hard in the beginning. When your training is too hard, your immune system will be low because the body is trying to heal and repair itself.

During this time, germs can invade your body and make you sick. The best remedy will be to see a doctor and rest till you’re better. Do NOT exercise when you’re sick. Light stretching is fine but avoid the cardio and resistance training workouts. Your body needs to concentrate its efforts on healing you.

• Toxins

The visceral fat in your body is the fat that covers your vital organs. These fats are different from subcutaneous fat which is under the skin. Visceral fat is dangerous and actually binds the toxins in your body to prevent them from making you sick.

When you exercise, the body will burn the visceral fat and the toxins will be released in your blood stream. This can make you sick and you may have fever and/or colds. So, the best way to guard yourself will be to eat foods that help detox your body naturally.

Foods and spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, green tea, lemons, etc. are great for flushing out the toxins. Remember to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and aid with the detox. Adding a slice or two of lemon in your jug of water will be very beneficial.

Avoid sodas, alcohol, processed foods and don’t overeat. Your body needs to focus during the detox process. Giving it more toxic foods will just make things worse.


DOMS refers to delayed onset muscle soreness. This is due to micro tears in the muscle that occur during training. The harder you train, the higher your chances of experiencing DOMS. It is normal and nothing to worry about.

You may feel fatigue and weakness because moving around causes you pain. The best way to relieve the pain is with ice baths and over-the-counter pain relief medication. Muscle rub creams can work too. But all these are just temporary.

You’ll need to give your body 2 to 5 days rest for the muscle soreness to go away. To prevent excessive soreness, approach your workouts sensibly and try to improve gradually. Don’t take on more than you can handle just to make faster progress.

• Overtraining

Listen to your body. This is the most important thing. If it feels sore or you just don’t feel good, rest an extra day or two at home. There’s a difference between your mind making excuses to avoid exercise and you actually feeling like you’re physically ill. You must know the difference.

Make sure you are well-rested and capable of handling a workout before you start on one. Don’t train too hard and too often without sufficient breaks and rest. Your body is not a machine. Train sensibly.

Pushing yourself too much will do more damage than good. You’ll become sick more easily and will be more prone to injury. Everything in excess is opposed by nature.

• Rest

Last but not least, insufficient rest weakens the body and sets you up for infections to take root in your body. Get enough sleep daily. Don’t burn the candle at both ends and stress yourself out. Stress makes millions sick. Make sure your body is fully healed when going for a workout. If it still aches from the last workout, give it extra rest. 

Now that you know why your body becomes sick when you exercise, you’ll realize that there’s a lot you can do to prevent sickness from getting a hold on you because of exercise. 

Go slow and exercise in moderation when you’re starting out. Listen to the signals your body gives you and you’ll know what to do. That is the best way to train safe and stay healthy.

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