The Best Exercises to Do When Sick

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

It’s that time of year again, when stuffy noses and sinus pressure halt your normally-active lifestyle without warning.

Cold and flu season doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to lie down on the couch 24/7, though. There are several low-impact exercises to do when sick that can help your mind and muscles stay active while you’re on the path to recovery.

exercise ball, mat

Women’s Health Magazine offers a few rules to consider before exercising while under the weather, including checking in with yourself every 10 minutes, doing a lighter workout, and staying at home as to not spread germs at the gym. When you’re sick, it’s especially important to consult with your doctor before engaging in any type of exercise, but once you get the green light, feel free to ease back in with some of these easy, low-intensity fitness ideas. (And, as always, remember to hydrate.)


It may be tempting to do nothing but binge-watch your favorite TV show when you have a head cold, but even walking around a little can help you feel better. If you live in a region with warm weather, start by simply walking around the block or to the nearest street corner.

For those of us who reside in snowy cities, it’s best to stay indoors, as winter weather could do more harm than good. Try walking around the perimeter of your home until you feel well enough to pick up the pace or traverse some stairs.



Yoga is one of the most popular exercises to do when sick with a stuffy nose or sinus infection. If you have a cold, the important thing to remember when choosing a few moves is to eliminate anything that will make the blood rush to your head, like Downward-Facing Dog.

Instead, consider loosening up your muscles (and clearing your mind) with poses that focus on posture and breathing, such as the Lotus position or the Staff pose. If you’re new to yoga, wait until you’re feeling better to try it for the first time.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is another excellent low-impact exercise that will get your blood moving when you’re ailing. Again, only incorporate this into your wellness plan if you’re already familiar with the techniques. Start by engaging in 10 minutes of Tai Chi a couple of times a day, and increase the time you spend practicing as you begin to regain your strength and recover from your illness.

Tai Chi

Recumbent Bike

Sometimes just standing on your feet sounds like too much when you are sick, but using a recumbent bike can offer your core stability without you having to do the work. This exercise is only recommended if you have a stationary bike in your home, as you don’t want to go to the gym when you are sick. You’ll want to engage in short, slow-peddling intervals until you feel better.

Simple Stretching

If nothing else, some simple stretching can help your muscles stay loose and limber so that you’ll be ready to get back into your typical workout routine when you’re feeling better. A seated toe touch, neck rolls, and shoulder stretches are all easy to do and can even be completed while you’re recovering in your bed. Start by engaging in each move for 10 seconds, and continue to build on that. Soon enough, you will start to feel stronger and more clearheaded.

Being sick is the worst, but it doesn’t mean you have to completely throw your fitness goals out the window. The next time you’re feeling under the weather, consult with your doctor and discuss what low impact workout is best suited for you. Feel better even faster by trying some of these natural cold remedies.

How do you like to keep active when battling a cold? Let us know your tips and tricks by tweeting @TomsofMaine!

Image sources: Free Stock Photos | Pixabay | Pixabay | Flickr

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

A few short and simple exercises can help you speed up your recovery time this cold and flu season. Consult with a physician and see what you can do to activate your muscles—and your mind—while fighting a light illness.