Can You Exercise With Shingles? Things To Keep In Mind While Exercising

Exercising with shingles is a good idea as long as you don’t do anything extreme or do any strenuous exercises. You can still exercise and do yoga, tai chi, or swimming in cool pool water to help soothe your senses and remain stress-free to get better faster. Wearing loose-fitted clothes and completing your treatment will get you better in no time. Once you notice your scabs have started to disappear, you can go back to your workout before you got shingles.

It is not a life-threatening condition, but shingles are painful and troublesome for the person who gets them. In simple terms, it is a viral infection that causes a painful rash, which is why it becomes difficult for people even to wear clothes.

Being a viral infection, it’s best if you don’t visit public gyms, swimming pools, or any other place where you can quickly get another person infected. Not with shingles but with chickenpox instead. Just until you get it treated. But does that mean you can’t exercise at home? Or can you?

What are shingles?

A middle-aged woman who has shingles is constantly itching her back and neck.

Understanding this condition is foremost crucial before jumping to whether you can work out with shingles.

Shingles are caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus. For most people who get shingles, it is because they already suffered from chickenpox earlier.

This virus from chickenpox continues to live in some of your nerve cells. Though usually inactive, so you don’t even know it’s there. Most people don’t even get, even after getting chickenpox. So it’s not clear what makes this virus active, causing shingles.

The risk of getting shingles is higher as you age, mostly for anyone who is 60 or older. You also have a higher chance of shingles if you have a weak immunity system.

Can you exercise with shingles?

A middle-aged woman who has shingles is getting ready to do some yoga as a workout.

When someone gets shingles, they have different symptoms. They’re mostly painful, including chills, headaches, fatigue, and tingling sensations on the skin. It depends on person-to-person, but it’s primarily skin-related pain, such as fluid-filled blisters, itching or tingling, and numbness.

So, even under such painful symptoms, is it okay to exercise? Yes, it is!

You can exercise even with shingles, but keeping in mind that you’re not supposed to exert your body too much. With the help of your doctor and their suggestion, you can exercise even with shingles. Of course, exercising at home where you can be comfortable is recommended.

You’re supposed to do light exercises and follow some relaxation techniques, as this will help you keep away from stress and maintain good health. However, any strenuous exercise is challenging to follow when you have shingles.

Things to keep in mind while exercising

A woman who has shingles is swimming to exercise and ease her shingles discomfort.
  • Your number one priority is to make sure you don’t put yourself through any stressful exercising routine. Avoid exercising where you sweat too much and get dehydrated. All of this can affect your immunity too.
  • Go for the loosely fitted clothes. Wearing loose t-shirts and pyjamas is an excellent option to exercise freely and without any constraints. So, wearing clothes that are made from cotton or linen is preferable.
  • Exercises such as tai chi, yoga, and swimming are good options to choose from. Tai chi and yoga helps you keep your body fit and bring peace from within. Swimming is an excellent way to feel calm in cool water.
  • Make sure your blisters have started to heal, dried out and scabbed over before thinking of going out to a public space to workout.
  • Applying the colloidal oatmeal powder to blisters before exercising can help to reduce friction between skin and clothing when deciding to work out. Of course, following your doctor’s recommended treatment plan is best.

Ways to soothe the rash

To exercise stress-free, making your rash better is something you need to work on.

Oatmeal – Applying colloidal oatmeal, made of oats grounded to a very fine powder, can help soothe your itchiness.

Cold compress – Dip a towel in cold water and place it on your blisters for some time. Don’t compress if there is some cream or patches applied to the blisters.

Lose clothing – Wearing loose clothes at a time like this will help immensely. You won’t strain yourself, and clothes won’t brush as much as tight-fitted clothes.

Calamine lotion – Sold at most stores, it’s excellent to apply to your blisters and feel calm and soothed afterward.

Daily habits – Make sure you follow good patterns to help make your condition better. Start eating nutritious food and have regular meals. Getting good rest and sleep is vital for a wholesome recovery. Of course, the exercises are recommended to make you stress-free and give you something to focus on besides facing your issues. Be calm – this condition can be very irritating to deal with in the beginning. Meanwhile, you can and should distract yourself with other things like watching something, reading, talking to friends on call. Other stuff that can make you calm and collected is meditation, tai chi, yoga, walking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you run with shingles?

Running while the shingles haven’t started healing is something that isn’t promoted as your blisters can discomfort you a lot. And sweating will not help the cause at all.

Then you can start running when your condition has improved a bit, and you can see yourself getting healed—visible signs such as drying of scabs and when they start disappearing.

Can you do normal activities with shingles?

You should be able to do activities that you can tolerate. If you feel slight discomfort in doing anything, asking for help won’t make you a smaller person.

It’s better that you don’t stress your body and mind while still suffering from this condition.

Is your immune system weaker after shingles?

Most people get shingles because they have a weaker immunity system.

So, when you’re recovering from shingles, it is better to avoid indulging in anything that can make your immunity vulnerable again and instead focus on things that can build a more robust immunity system. Keeping a healthy and nutritious-filled diet is compulsory.

Why do shingles keep coming back?

If your shingles are reoccurring, then you either have a fragile immune system, or you’re not doing a good job at keeping it away. This includes not completing the treatment assigned to you by your doctor and not following it to the end.

If you leave your treatment in between when you see slight chances of improvement, then it will keep coming back. Also, get vaccinated as soon as you get entirely better.

Is heat bad for shingles?

Of course, suppose your skin is suffering. In that case, it might be at its most sensitive stage, and at this time, experiencing any temperature, be it too hot or too cold, will affect you.

Avoid going out if you have extreme weather outside. Try to remain at a moderate temperature to keep your skin soothed. This is why sweating is a bad thing too.

To summarize

When you get shingles, your skin suffers and goes through a lot. With such extreme symptoms and pain that you go through initially, it is recommended not to indulge in extreme activities. This means you shouldn’t do extreme sports or rigorous exercises at this sensitive time.

While exercising in itself is a good distraction. It will help you remain stress-free, too, avoiding anything extreme, and opting for things like yoga, tai chi, and swimming will be of immense help. Followed with a couple of things like making sure to wear loose-fitted clothes and taking your medications on time will help you heal faster.

Once you see scabs forming and disappearing, you can go back to working out like you used to before, be it at the gym or running in the field. Remember to complete your medication and follow it up with a vaccine your shingle doesn’t reoccur.