Tips to Stay Healthy When You Can’t Work Out

Many people exercise to stay in shape, improve their cardiovascular health, and maintain a healthy weight. But, unfortunately, there are times when you can’t work out. Whether you have a busy few weeks ahead of you, you’re under the weather or nursing an injury, there are more ways to stay healthy than working out alone. Worried about staying healthy when you can’t engage in a vigorous workout? You’ve come to the right place. Here are tips to stay healthy when you can’t work out. 

Change Your Routine

Some medical illnesses or injuries can force you to rest in bed even when you want to be working out. Luckily, even though you can’t put on your shoes and go for a run, you can still modify your routine to help you maintain muscle mass and burn some additional calories even when you’re resting. Instead of doing vigorous exercise routines, try to stretch while you’re in bed. 

If you’re able to move around, you may be able to go for a stroll around the block. Of course, depending on why you can’t work out, you might not want to leave the house. If that’s the case, you can still burn calories by stretching every few hours, which can also help improve your posture and increase blood flow. 

Eat Healthy Foods

Healthy snacks and meals can help you stay healthy when you can’t work out, and many experts agree that your diet is more important than how physically fit you are. When you can’t work out, you might feel like diving into a big bowl of your favorite pasta. However, without your usual exercise routine to help burn calories and use them as energy, you might need to take a second look at the food you’re putting in your body. If you’re going to be less active, you don’t need as many calories or macronutrients as you do when working out. 

Filling your diet with healthy fruits and vegetables can help you feel your best even when you can’t make it to the gym. Additionally, eating healthily can help you feel energized all day long, which can be beneficial when you can’t get a jolt of energy from cardio in the morning. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that can improve all aspects of your health, not just your fitness levels. 

Take Supplements

Most of us have difficulty getting our recommended doses of vitamins and minerals through our diets. Whether you’re cutting calories to slim down or eating meals that taste great and help you feel great, getting all the vitamins you need from a diet alone isn’t easy. Ideally, you’d get all your vitamins and minerals through your diet, but there’s no reason to eat more when you’re not hungry just to get vitamins. So instead, you can take supplements in the morning to help you get the necessary nutrients your body and mind need to stay healthy. 

In addition to supplements, it’s important to stay on track with any medications required to take by your doctor. While you may not be able to work out, you should still stay on top of your health concerns. If you take any antibiotics, medication for chronic UTIs, or psychiatric medication, it’s important to continue these to keep you healthy. 

Keep Your Mind Fit

When you can’t work out your body, you can still work out your mind. Even though you might not be able to go to the gym, you can still keep yourself stimulated by keeping your mind fit. Whether you choose to read or learn a new skill when you can’t work out, you can exercise your brain to keep yourself focused on important tasks, which can improve your mental health. Additionally, you can start a fitness journal and write down your goals to help keep you motivated to start working out again once you can. 

Consider Your Drinks

What you drink is also part of your diet, although many people make the mistake of forgetting about the sugar and calories in their favorite beverages. Just because you’re drinking and not chewing it doesn’t mean your drinks can’t affect your health. When you can’t work out, there’s no reason to put extra sugar or calories into your body that you won’t burn off, so it’s best to avoid soft drinks and high-calorie beverages during this time. 

Instead, choose healthier drinks like water and tea that can help improve your energy levels and offer additional benefits. 


No matter the reason why you can’t work out–whether you’re nursing an injury or simply don’t have the time– it’s important to get the rest your body needs to function properly and stay healthy. If you feel ragged and unable to get enough sleep every night, try to go to bed just a few minutes earlier. Even something like fifteen to thirty minutes of more sleep can equal a few extra hours of sleep per week. 

When you get enough quality rest, your body and mind have opportunities to heal and recover, providing you with more energy and focus the next day. 

Practice Stress Management

Stress can impact your physical and mental health, and many people use exercise as a way to help manage their stress because it releases endorphins. You might feel more stressed when you can’t work out because you can’t focus on the activity that helps you relieve stress. However, you can try other stress management techniques, and it’s always good to have a few stress management methods in case one doesn’t work. 

One popular way to manage your stress and help you instantly feel calmer is to practice deep breathing. You can also try meditation or focus on a new hobby that can allow you to spend time focusing on the things that make you happy instead of the things that stress you out. 

Practice Self Care

We all have busy lives, and sometimes there just isn’t enough time to properly care for ourselves. Luckily, self-care can be anything you want it to be, as long as it improves your overall well-being. So whether you prefer to take bubble baths to relax or want to spend some time alone, practicing self-care is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy while prioritizing yourself. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, health and wellness are not something you can achieve through exercise alone, so there’s no reason to feel like you can’t stay healthy when you can’t work out. Instead, try to find other ways to improve your physical and mental health, whether you’re too busy or tired to work out, nursing an injury, or recovering from an illness. Then, when you can make it back to the gym, you can rest assured knowing you’re still healthy from the choices you made when you couldn’t work out. 

Ashley Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 

Jared Freen

Jared is a dynamic and driven journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth and sharing untold stories. With over a decade of experience reporting from the front lines of some of the world's most volatile regions, Jared has a reputation for fearlessly pursuing the facts, no matter how challenging or dangerous the situation.