Exercise When you Shouldn't Do It

Editor's Note: When you see these three dots surrounded by a gray rectangle — 1 — you can click on it to get further information about the topic. Click a second time, and the message goes away.

This article was edited and updated on December 13, 2021.

Are there times when you should not exercise?

The short answer: Yes.

When are those times?

There are a number of times when exercise isn't advisable, and if you are a regular exerciser, you will find it hard to NOT exercise. But there truly are times when it's not a good idea. At the very least, there are times when you need to modify your activities.

Some of the reasons for not exercising include:

How should you get back into exercise?

When determining how quickly you can return to exercise, these factors contribute to your decision:

Keep these very important "rules" in mind:

Walking is one of the best ways to re-start your exercise regime.

Here's some rules to follow when returning to gym or fitness class:

There is a fine line between a slow, gradual return and pushing too hard. In fact, more is not always better. Moderate exercise is good for you at any time when you are well, but returning from injury or illness means that you must do it slowly.


If you are a regular exerciser, you will not find it difficult to return if you miss a week. Anything more than that and you can be certain that returning will become more difficult with each day that you stay away. When you return, pace yourself and be kind to yourself: You will return to a stronger fitness level in time.

If you are dealing with a specific condition, you might want to check out one of these articles about how to deal with it:

I am a BCRPA-certified fitness instructor in Vancouver, BC. I teach four classes at the West End Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, mostly designed for the older adult. The Inevitable Disclaimer: Everything published here expresses only my opinion, based on my training and research. What you do with the information is entirely your own responsibility. I am not liable for any injury you suffer that seems to be related to anything you read here. Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. For other articles, return to the table of contents.

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  1. These three dots behave exactly like a footnote. Click on them and you will get more information about the topic. ↩︎

  2. I have written a series of articles about exercise and specific health conditions. See the list at the end of this article. ↩︎