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How to Recover From the Flu With Exercise

By Julie Boehlke

The flu is a highly contagious illness that affects the respiratory tract. Your chances of catching the flu are greatest during the flu season, which oftentimes begins in October and can last through May. While symptoms can be severe, if you’re physically able to exercise, you may be able to help yourself better recover from the flu.

  1. Evaluate your overall health and symptoms. Your flu may hit you hard at first, including symptoms such as cough, muscle aches, fever and extreme tiredness. After these symptoms subside, you should be healthy enough to finish your recovery through exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, if you flu symptoms are strictly confined to your head, it’s safe to exercise.

  2. Engage in a brisk walk. Because your body is still recovering from the flu, it’s beneficial to get exercise, along with fresh, clean air. Walking is a low-impact exercise that helps boost your immunity, improve your health and provide an easy way to exercise while you are recovering from the after- effects of the flu, notes.

  3. Pedal your way to good health. Riding your bike for small distances and in short intervals will help you get exercise while battling the flu. Try to stick to short distances and easy-to-ride terrain and pathways. When on your bike ride, be sure to fuel up frequently with energy snacks such as nuts, granola bars and fruit. Make sure you replenish lost fluids with water or sports energy drinks.

  4. Stretch your muscles with yoga or Pilates. This low-impact exercise involves stretching and relaxation. Using your muscles helps provide much needed lubrication to your joints that that you need to regain strength.

  5. Check for symptoms of your flu progressing. It’s important to know when to go back to bed or relax as opposed to exercising and overexerting your body when you’re ill. Sudden chest pain, tightness in the chest, trouble swallowing, vomiting or high fever indicates that the flu may be progressing into a complicated medical condition such as pneumonia.

  6. Tip

    Be sure to seek medical care if your flu symptoms last more than five days.

    Consume foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges and strawberries.


    If your flu symptoms are in your chest or you have swollen glands accompanied by a fever and congestion, you should avoid strenuous exercise and over-exerting your body.

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