When Not to Exercise
Are you too sick, tired, or sore to work out -- or are you slacking off?
You Recently Had a Concussion
Do not exercise or participate in any sport until your doctor says it is
safe to do so -- even if you feel OK. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, and your brain
needs to heal properly. “If another
head injury occurs due to exercise before the [concussion] has healed, the
brain is put at an increased risk of swelling and potential catastrophic
damage,” Rice says.
Your Old Sports Injury Is Bothering You
Skip the workout and see your doctor. This is usually not a good sign,
especially if you have pain during activity, Rice says. Sudden pain requires
immediate medical attention.
You Didn't Sleep Last Night and Now You're Too Tired to Exercise
Get out of bed and get moving. “A morning workout may be just what you need
after a restless night to boost your energy level and get you ready for the
day,” Rothstein says. But if you're always fatigued -- not just a bit tired,
but to the point of not being able to function -- skip the workout and see your
doctor. Extreme or persistent fatigue can be a sign of illness.
You Felt a Sharp Pain the Last Time You Worked Out
Do not work out until you see a doctor to rule out an injury. If you
exercise anyway, you may make the injury worse. “Although it is expected to
feel soreness after you work out, it is never OK to feel pain,” Rice says.
Your Back Hurts
Take it easy for a few days and see if your back feels better. Pay attention
to what makes the pain better or worse: Does bending or twisting cause you to
squirm or say ouch? Try to avoid those movements to promote healing,
Rothstein says. If your pain continues or interferes with your daily
activities, see your doctor.
Your Muscles Are Sore
You can go to the gym, but make it a light-intensity workout, such as walking instead of
running. It's also OK to skip your workout and rest, if the soreness is too
severe. And if your muscles are super sore because you overdid it the
last time you exercised, make a point of making your workouts more reasonable.
You don't want your fitness habit to become a flash in the pan.