10 Ways To Stick To Your Workout Routine During Winter (AKA sick season)

Now that it is January, there is no escaping winter (unless you live in the Bahamas). This means that there is also no escaping the inevitable, long-lasting cold that won’t go away until April… or May. We all know about this cold. For some, your nose will be stuffed for 4 straight months, but you won’t actually feel sick. For others, you will constantly feel weak, tired, and stuffed up, making it hard for you to wake up in the morning – and making it hard for you to do anything after work other than go to bed. And for people like myself, you will be congested for 5 months and every other week your throat will feel like it’s on fire.


Unfortunately, feeling sick and tired means that you will most likely not want to exercise. And if you’re really sick, you probably shouldn’t. But if you’re going to be sick for, like, 5 months, you can’t not work out for 5 months! What comes after winter? Bathing suit season. Well, I guess Spring comes along first for a hot minute – but that’s not enough time to get in awesome shape. And 5 months of not working out would lead to an out-of-shape body, a lack of self-esteem, and a bloated-feeling self. No thanks.

Yesterday, Maggie gave us tips on actually keeping our New Year’s fitness resolutions. And today, we’re giving you tips on how to not let the “sick season” stand in the way of your resolution. I’m sure there will be times when you really shouldn’t work out… For instance, maybe you are on the verge of strep throat (or maybe you actually have strep throat). Maybe every other thing coming out of your mouth is a horrible sneeze. Or maybe that cough has found it’s way into your chest. If any of these apply to you, you probably shouldn’t be working out. But don’t let your current condition ruin your entire winter workout plan!

So how do you avoid a workout-less winter?

– Embrace the things about winter that you actually like (yes, they exist). As in boots, layers, hot chocolate, “snow days”… That’s all I can think of. If you feel happy, you won’t be as tired. And if you’re not as tired, you will be less likely to get sick.

– Dress WARM. It isn’t cool to wear shorts and sandals when it’s cold. And cold means below 60 degrees. Jackets can be stylish, so if that’s your concern, you obv don’t know anything about style – so you shouldn’t be worrying about it in the first place.

– Drink Orange Juice with calcium in it. For some reason, this is my go-to plan every time my throat starts to give me that “you’re-getting-sick” vibe. You should try it too.

– Eat foods with “pro-biotics” in them. I have no idea what “pro-biotics” are, except that they are in certain yogurts, they help you avoid illnesses, and you can drink alcohol while consuming them – unlike when taking antibiotics. Since yogurt is not the greatest thing to eat when you’re congested, eat the “pro-biotic” filled foods throughout winter when not sick. The foods will help you not to get congested.

– Get the flu shot. I know some of you are afraid of this shot or cannot get it for medical/religious reasons… but if you can get the shot, do. No, it’s not going to keep you from getting sick all winter long – but it has a really good chance of saving you from getting, well, the flu.

– If you start to feel sick, rest and take it easy. Instead of doing what you usually do at the gym, do half of what you do. OR don’t even go at all. If you go all out at the gym when you feel like you’re getting sick, you will be most likely be so sick the next day that you won’t be able to function at work (nevermind the gym) for days. If you do take it easy for a few days, you will hopefully be able to work out like normal once you feel 100% percent again. If you DON’T take it easy, you won’t feel 100% all winter long… and you won’t feel like working out all winter long.

– Utilize sick days at work. If you feel horrible, don’t go into work. You will save others from getting sick and will be able to rest – and therefore, won’t feel sh*tty anymore. Don’t say you’re saving your sick days for a time when you’re bedridden for a week with pnemonia. If you take a sick day to rest, you will have a better chance of not getting pnemonia. But if you keep going about your daily activities like nothing is wrong, you will probably crash soon with pnemonia after a trip to the doctor.

– Ignore FOMO. By now, you should have forgotten all about FOMO (the fear of missing out). FOMO was huge in college (which could be why you were always sick – and by you, I mean me)… but now, as a post-grad, you should be used to (and bored of) doing the same thing every weekend. You won’t miss out if you stay in because you do the same thing every weekend: Drink. You just do it at different places (or at least I hope you do it at different places). So if you feel sick, don’t go out.

– Don’t diagnose yourself online. See a doctor. This is a mistake most of us twenty-somethings make. We don’t like others telling us our problems, we don’t have time to get to a doctor, and we love the internet. So we google our problem(s) and believe what we read. Sometimes we might be right in choosing our diagnoses, but even if we are (which is highly unlikely) – the internet can’t give us medicine… The internet just tells us we have cancer. And then we really don’t want to go to the doctor, just in case they are going to give us the bad news.

– Do not let yourself fall out of the workout routine! No matter what you have to do to stay healthy, don’t lose your routine. If you couldn’t work out for two weeks, it’s going to take a while to work up to what you were doing before you were sick. But this doesn’t mean to skip the gym just because you don’t feel like going – and because you and the couch became BFFs last week. Start slow… You’ll feel better once you get back into it.

By doing the above, you can definitely attempt to save yourself from getting really sick. But no matter what you do, you can’t get your body to automatically adjust to changing temperatures. So it’s kind of inevitable you’ll get a cold or a sore throat this winter. Just don’t let it destroy your fitness resolution or current exercise routine.

She doesn't let being sick destroy her workout plan... so why should you?!
Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

2 Comments
  1. Hello. Two comments: First, I just came across your site and am thoroughly impressed. I like the clean design, the quality writing, and interesting content. Second, THANK YOU for your emphasis on not diagnosing yourself online. I’m a medical student, and I can’t count the number of times that an attending has gone on a rant about the problems that online self-diagnosis can cause. It’s as if everyone who is truly sick thinks they can treat themselves, and those who aren’t sick end up with phantom illnesses. So the sick end up staying home, and the healthy come in to see the doctor! What a mess. I’m glad there are people like you actually encouraging people to go see their doctors (although, I suppose I’m a little biased..).

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