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Worst Times to Exercise

By Ryn Gargulinski

Any exercise is generally better than no exercise, but exercising at the worst times can be hazardous to your health. You’re better off avoiding exercise during certain times of the day or when you’re suffering from specific ailments. There are also a number of myths regarding bad times to exercise which have no basis in truth.

First Thing in the Morning

Morning workouts can be an effective way to jump-start your day as long as you give your body a chance to fully wake up. One of the worst times to exercise is between 6 and 8 a.m., according to, because your muscles are still stiff from being immobile during sleep. Morning workouts can work if you give your body a couple of hours to wake up and properly warm up before your workout. Start every workout with gentle stretching and gradually ease into your routine rather than starting off at full speed.

Flu, Fever or Injuries

If you have the flu, a fever or signs of illness that are below your neck, stay away from exercise. Your body needs all its strength to fight off what’s ailing it and doesn’t have any to spare for a workout. Symptoms that hit below the neck include nausea or a stomach ache, congestion or a severe cough and all-over body aches. If you are recovering from an injury, especially an over-use injury caused by a repetitive motion in your workout, don’t resume the repetitive motion until the injury is completely healed and you have your doctor’s approval. Your doctor can recommend other exercises you can perform, if any, while your body heals.

Right Before Bed

Vigorous exercise boosts your heart rate and gets your blood flowing, not the best state for trying to get to sleep. Evening workouts are effective when you do them between 5 and 7 p.m., which gives your body enough time to wind down before you go to bed. If you must exercise later than 7 p.m., stick with a light activity, like a moderate walk around the block.


A number of myths exist about bad times to exercise. There is no reason not to exercise when you have a cold, feel like you might be getting a cold or are stressed out. Having sore muscles is not a valid reason to skip a workout, as long as you keep it light and don’t lift weights two days in a row. Being tired during exercise is OK, too, as long as you’re not jet-lagged or so exhausted that you’re falling over and exercise could be dangerous.

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