For a week now I have been nursing the flu. I’ve been mostly in bed and it’s very frustrating. I can feel the fitness juice draining out of me. Several times I’ve thought of getting out of bed and putting on my sneakers, but each time, my body, lungs and head have said, “Whoa maybe this is a bad idea.”

So, resting on an elevated pillow with my feet up, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there are times when being physically active can do more harm than good.

Now that I have nothing else to do I’m making a list of when not to exercise:


When You Are Sick

If you’ve got a cold and it’s not severe you CAN exercise without making yourself sicker. Your body will probably tell you to back off the intensity and you should listen. So just do a maintenance workout.

The flu, however, is not to be messed with. Influenza kills several thousand people a year. Your body is under siege from a virus, and you need to win that battle. Rest. Don’t exercise.


With A Fever

The flu is often accompanied by a fever, because your immune system is fighting off infection. Any time you have a fever you need to be resting to give your body a fighting chance. No exercise.


When You’re Tired

How tired? It you’ve got the fatigue and brain-block that comes from a long day at the office, some moderate exercise after work may help you relax and recharge.

But if your body is telling you to go home and go to bed, that’s what you need to do.


When A Chronic Condition Flairs Up

Most people with chronic conditions or injuries can exercise with doctor’s permission between flare-ups. But many make the mistake of trying to exercise when their condition is acute. When your condition flares up, wait it out. Don’t exercise. It only takes a moment to cause permanent damage. If your flare-up persists, go see your doctor.


When You’re Pregnant

Most pregnant women can exercise, but ability to exercise varies greatly from person to person. Make sure you talk to your doctor about any exercise you’re planning to do.


When You Have Pain

Patient: “Doctor it hurts when I do this.”

Doctor: “Don’t do that!”

It really IS that simple. Pushing through the pain is nonsense even for most professional athletes. If you’ve got pain, don’t exercise. See your doctor.


This list is a work in progress, and since I’m lying here, I’m sure I can think up some more stuff. How about you? If you’ve got some good reasons not to exercise, send them to me at exercise@movingfree.com.



Mirabai Holland M.F.A. legendary fitness pioneer is one of the leading authorities in the Health & Fitness industry, and a public health activist who specializes in preventive and rehabilitative exercise for people. Her Moving Free® approach to exercise is designed to provide a movement experience so pleasant it doesn’t feel like work. www.easyexercisevideos.com



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