With increasing health consciousness among people, it’s a common practice to exercise daily. There are several things to consider to exercise safely. Sometimes certain disease conditions or lifestyles will require you to make changes to your exercise routine. When people are sick, they may need antibiotics to get back to action. There are concerns raised over antibiotics and exercise going together.

Can I Exercise While Taking Antibiotics?

You are on antibiotics because you are battling an infection. Your body is in a compromised situation and it is necessary to check if it is safe to exercise in your current body state. Exercise is good for health and to maintain optimal wellness, but at times your disease condition may worsen with strenuous exercise. Your body should be given the rest and recovery time before you kick start with exercise or physical activity.
But some people are not ready to stay away from exercising even when they are on antibiotics. Some are forced to keep their activity steady due to an upcoming sports event. In such a situation, proper care and expert supervision can make it easier for the body to battle the infection even while on an exercise schedule.

Below are some concerns that should be taken into mind:

Risk of Yeast Infection with Antibiotic Intake

Yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans. They are present in the body without causing any harm. But under favorable conditions they proliferate and lead to infection. While on antibiotics, the useful bacteria which check on yeast growth are also destroyed. When the number of bacteria is reduced, it leads to fungal infection. The warmth and sweat caused by exercise provide suitable conditions for yeast growth.
Steps to Prevent Yeast Infection

  • When you are exercising while on antibiotic regimen, a little care can help to prevent a yeast breakout. Take a quick bath a while after exercise to bring down the body temperature and remove the sweat.

  • Change the clothes soon after exercise to prevent harboring the yeast.

  • Wash the workout clothes in disinfectant after every use.

  • Wear airy clothes that do not hold moisture.

Risk of Damage to Achilles Tendon

Fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin, are antibiotics administered for urinary infection. Exercising while on these antibiotics have been reported to cause damage to the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones. It can lead to the rupture of the tendon, mostly the Achilles tendon.
Ciprofloxacin is administered by the practitioner only in rare cases as tendinitis is a common occurrence even in normal physical activity. The problems can arise within days or sometimes even hours of physical activity. Therefore, if you have to combine antibiotics and exercise, check with your practitioner if it is safe to exercise while on the particular antibiotic. 

It Would Be a Bad Idea If You Have Diarrhea

Depending upon the spectrum of action of the antibiotic, it can even kill the useful bacteria in the stomach which will lead to diarrhea. For people on rest and proper care, the water consumed and the food helps maintain the body stability.
For physically active people, diarrhea combined with exercise will make the body weaker. This can have adverse impacts on the body. The solution is to take proper measures to prevent the onset of diarrhea while consuming antibiotics.

  • Take antibiotics only for the prescribed period.

  • Probiotic supplements can replace the useful gut bacteria and reduce the impact of antibiotics on digestion. This can help to prevent diarrhea.

  • Daily consumption of yoghurt can help.

Antibiotics and Cardiac Functioning

Certain antibiotics like azithromycin and clarithromycin cause abnormal heartbeats in some people. It is necessary to check if your antibiotics intake has affected your heart functioning.

While on exercise your body needs to pump more blood according to the bodily requirement. When you are exercising, there is a pressure imposed on the heart to pump blood faster to meet the oxygen demand in the muscles. The extra pressure can lead to complications.

It is mandatory to keep away from vigorous physical activity if any kind of arrhythmia is detected.

Risk of Heat and Light Sensitivity

Most of the time, marathons and sports are conducted outdoor in the sun. Athletes typically face a problem of sunburn and they have to follow proper sun protection routines to protect themselves from heat and dehydration. The risk can be aggravated by use of sulfa-based antibiotics like tetracycline and fluoroquinolones.

Tips to prevent heat strokes with antibiotic intake:

  • Limit outdoor activities.

  • Increase water consumption

  • Use sunscreen

  • Use full body covering clothes.

  • Keep away from prolonged races like marathons.

What Other People Have Experienced

Here’s others’ experience with antibiotics and exercise and what the doctor has advised:

“I am an active person with regular gym schedules. Recently I have been suffering from sinus infection. I am concerned about taking antibiotics as I am worried of muscle loss and weakness. I cannot consider skipping my exercises” -- John
- For mild infections, antibiotics are not prescribed usually. Antibiotics can lead to diarrhea which will make the body weak. But they do not cause muscle loss. Only Ciprofloxacin has been found to cause rupture of Achilles tendon and it is very rarely administered to patients.

“I was diagnosed with tonsillitis infection and doctor has prescribed cloxacillin for a week. The tonsillitis pain has subsided and I have a bad urge to go cycling as I am don’t like to sit at home. It is fine to go cycling while on antibiotics?”-- Tom
- It is fine to exercise while on antibiotics. But Penicillin derivatives have a tendency to affect the renal system which can lead to dehydration. So it is advised to maintain reduced physical activity so that there would not arise a need for heavy hydration. Gyms should be avoided while on antibiotics as the body has an increased susceptibility to contract infections. Your doctor will be able to help you with any further information based on the specific antibiotic administered and can make necessary changes to the medications if required.

“I had an oral surgery and was put on antibiotic Clindamycin. I couldn’t sit at home lazily so I started my exercise regimen. Muscle pain made me back away from it soon. I made the wise decision of taking a break from exercise and let the body heal and recover. I spent the time taking a stroll, looking at nature and its beauty. Talking to my doctor also helped me with getting back to my normal physical activity.”- Joseph


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