British Lung Foundation
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Should you exercise when you have a chest infection?

I keep reading how important it is to stay active and to do something everyday. My thing is walking I do much less nowadays I used to walk between 2-5 miles. On a good day with my dogs I can normally walk about a mile before I feel another infection starting now. I'm going bk to the dr tomorrow as it hasn't gone and just so fed up.

10 Replies

Jeannanne: I am a fine one to talk about exercise. I do the PR exercises - just. It sounds as if you are getting chest infections + so the best thing is to see your GP. Ask for referral for further tests. Take a sputum specimen. Ask for a rescue pack of antibiotics. With exercises, you could ask for pulmonary rehab. You dont say if you get breathless. That should be considered. You could also speak to the BLF nurses - perhaps someone could supply the number.


Yes I do get breathless and and very tight feeling some days are better than others. I'll write this lot down and and ask tomorrow thank you. I have spoken to a BLF nurse a while ago she was helpful. I just never really feel well and I've told the dr and nurse and they just hand me a prescription ( don't think they know what to say) so it kind of makes me feel like I should just get on and shhh.


I am no doctor but would never recommend exercise when sick




if you follow that route you would never exercise ( with copd you have got'ten some sort of infection most of the time and the more you exercise the less infections you get )

1 like

Like others , I would say no don't exercise, while your body is down, because you might just hurt yourself and create more problems!

but as others said, the thing with our illness is that it is a bit scary. but get your GP to refer you to the pulmonary nurse.

She can refer you to rehabilitation, which is a full assessment of your ability. On this course, they explain a lot about inhalers, drugs, and what to do when you get short of breath. then they will have you do gentle exercises according to what you can do and you wil be monitored. This happens in a group, so you will see others in the same sort of condition as yours. I'd really encourage you to take this path.It will build your self confidence and it will enable you to do far better that what you are doing now. Best wishes and come and tell us your progress! :-)


Thanks for all the ideas. Well I went to the dr and was given ciproflokacin and steroids, he said these should clear it! when I asked him why he thought I was getting so many chest infs he said, Just one of those things


II have just had back to back chest infections but I still walk my dogs twice daily.I also take my steroids and antibiotics, inhalers etc. I find that excercise helps me bring up the phlegm

and clears my chest.After excercise I have a rest and cuppa! I am retired RGN. Best wishes


The general advice would be that if you are taking anti-biotics and steroids you should not exercise - but you should still keep mobile around the house. Once you have finished your medications you should gradually increase your levels of activity.

However as we all know the way people are affected by an infection does vary so some people may feel able to be more active when they have an infection. If you don't feel well enough, or able enough, to be as active as usual when you have an infection then that is to be expected and you should give yourself time to recover.


I would say no, especially as often we don't feel well enough to do so when we have a lung infection. Steroids can make us hyper but generally the body needs rest to heal and going out in cold damp weather with a lung infection would not generally be recommended, neither would be pumping iron at the gym even when the prednisolone makes you feel indestructible (that's a false sense of security).

One of my own reasonings about illness is your body tries to put you out of action by making you feel unwell so that rest and recovery can be achieved. When we pass out for instance it's because the body needs to get horizontal and focus on fixing what is wrong. We would just burn ourselves out without our own built in safety mechanisms.

On the other hand if a person ignored the recovery needs of the body, I don't doubt the body will over rule but this could result in far more serious consequences and could even be life threatening.

I would say rest when you are not well and generally take things easy just to give the body a helping hand toward a speedier recovery, so that you can enjoy regaining health and fitness levels more quickly without delaying the process of getting well.

If you have repeated infections and are rarely free of them, you do need to be referred back to a specialising respiratory consultant and further advice from the medical professionals treating you about what levels of activity you should be aiming for. Its important to keep active, but not in detriment to health. Walking up and down inside during illness is a good thing toward helping recovery but trying to achieve fitness and activity levels before illness or chest infection may not be helpful.


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