Working out doesn’t work if you don’t stick to a routine. That’s exercise 101. It doesn’t matter if you spend 4 hours at the gym on Tuesday, if you don’t do anything else the rest of the week you aren’t going to see results. Ideally, you should be going to the gym every day and exercising for at least an hour.

But sometimes life throws you a curveball and knocks you out of commission for a while. And in these moments, some people decided to tough it up and push themselves to workout.

And sometimes it can be beneficial; a solid run can often help boost your immune system enough to knock out a light cold or sinus infection.

And obviously, there are other times when working out would be a terrible idea. Don’t try to max out on the bench if you just got shot in the shoulder. That probably wouldn’t end well.

But this article is about those in between times. The slight fevers, the mild injuries, the lingering aches, and the overall fatigue that makes you question if working out is actually helping. So here are the 6 times it is actually okay to skip the gym.


Young handsome man in bed with a flu or measuring fever with thermometer in his mouth

Now, it is hard to give you an actual number, like “never exercise if you’re over 100 degrees,” because everyone is a little different, but if you feel like you are even running a slight fever, don’t go to the gym. Working out only raises your temperature, so that won’t help things. Also, if you are running a fever, that means you might be contagious so double don’t go to the gym, because you might get other people sick. Don’t be that guy. Now go make yourself some soup and lie down.

Didn’t Sleep

sleeping man disturbed by alarm clock early morning

Some people will try to go to the gym before work after staying up late the night before. These people are making a mistake. Not only is skipping sleep bad on it’s own, but trying to work out if you are feeling fatigued can result in serious injury.

Remember, form is the most important component of any workout. And if you are falling asleep at the rack and you let your form slip, you could end up pulling a muscle or worse. Better to just rest up a bit and hit the gym fresh.

Muscles Ache

handsome man feeling pain in back. Businessman suffering from back pain at office

All working out is basically just putting little tiny tears in your muscle and waiting for it to heal up stronger. And that can make you sore. In most cases, if you are a little sore from a workout the day before, pushing through it is okay. If your arms hurt, have yourself a leg day. If your chest is sore, do arms and back. But if you really went all out yesterday and are feeling especially banged up, there is no shame in taking a day to recoup.

Always Tired

Monday morning again

It is okay to feel beat after a few busy days, but if you have been feeling run down and depleted for the past few weeks, it is probably best if you stopped working out and went to the doctor instead. Long term fatigue can often be a sign of something worse, like a thyroid condition.

If you are actually sick, exercise might only make it worse. So get yourself checked out and make sure you are cleared to work out.


Portrait of a sick man with the flu coughing and holding a warm tea cup

Coughing or wheezing are often just a sign of a light cold or allergies, and in these instances, working out might actually help. But if the cough is deep and you feel a pain in your chest, odds are you’re fighting a viral infection Working out under these circumstances will not only make you sick for longer, but it could also exacerbate the symptoms and make the whole thing worse.  Instead, you should be taking a load off until you get better. Have a juice. Take a nap.