For many people, swimming is an escape from the stresses of life. It’s a time for you to let go of everything outside of the water and challenge yourself. Because of those feelings, many swimmers do everything in their power to avoid missing a workout. While that discipline is good in general, what happens when you get sick?
Whether you have a cough, a runny nose, or just feel slightly “off,” if you’re feeling sick at all, don’t swim, even if it means missing a few workouts.
Why You Shouldn’t Swim When You Are Sick
If you ignore your symptoms and continue your swim routine, two things could happen:
- You could get more sick, putting yourself out of commission for weeks with a more severe illness
- You could pass your illness to an immunocompromised person at the pool. Even if your symptoms are minor, an immunocompromised person could get very sick due to their weakened immune system.
Wait until you feel completely back to normal before swimming again. We promise, a short break from the pool won’t completely destroy your swimming progress!
What You Can Do Instead
While the pool isn’t the best place to be when you’re sick, you can still prioritize your health and boost your swimming performance. Try these ideas:
- Rest & rejuvenate: Take some time to let your body recover. Strive to get 8 hours of sleep each night. In addition to helping your body recover from illness, adequate sleep will improve your swimming!
- Focus on nutrition: Make sure you are drinking water and eating healthy meals. Proper nutrition will benefit your swimming performance and strengthen your immune system!
- Take a walk: Get some fresh air and move your body with a 20-30-minute walk each day. You could also try a light dryland workout!
- Stretch: Light stretching can fill your need for movement, and can help prevent injury! Give these stretches a try.
- Study swimming technique: If you are out of the pool for more than a few days, it can be helpful to study drills and review technique tips so you can come back even stronger. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for educational videos, stroke tips and more!
It may feel tempting to hit the pool when you aren’t feeling 100%, but taking time off won’t derail your progress toward your goals!