Article by Claire Darlington MSc

This research has stemmed from personal experience of having to take long term antibiotics.

In 2010 I was diagnosed with bacterial endocarditis of which I received 6-weeks of intravenous antibiotics. In 2012, I then experienced a second bout of endocarditis however this was a much more serious  bacteria to deal with and I received 10 weeks of intravenous antibiotics and a further 6 weeks oral antibiotics. So I researched this area as I wanted to understand the effects this would have on returning back to exercise.

If your GP has prescribed antibiotics, there are certain precautions that you must take in regards to exercise. Exercising safely will not only help in the prevention of possible injury, but it can also be effective in ensuring that the antibiotics work to the best of their ability. And performed at the right intensity and frequency, can help to strengthen the immune system.

Be sure to consult with your GP before exercising in order to get specific recommendations.

Why are you taking the antibiotics?

This is the most important thing to consider. If you are on a course of antibiotics for something such as a chest infection, or something similar, then maybe you think about how your feeling and what form of exercise you are thinking of participating in?

Talk with Your GP

One of the most important tips to ensure that you exercise safely when taking antibiotics is that you must start by talking with your GP. If you are not able to contact him or her directly, ask to speak with one of the nurses who is involved in your care. Develop  a list of questions, including such things such as whether or not it is safe for you to exercise while taking the antibiotic, if there are any specific types of exercise you should avoid, and other similar issues. Make sure that you have a strong understanding of how the antibiotic could affect your current exercise routine before ending the conversation.

Start Slowly

Even though your GP may have told you that your specific antibiotic wouldn’t cause any adverse side effects, when on any new type of medication it is important to adjust your exercise routine in order to prevent possible injury or illness. For best results, decrease the intensity of your current exercise session by about 25%. If you are able to comfortably perform this amount and intensity of exercise for a week with no difficulty, you can assume that it is safe to gradually start adding time and intensity back to your workout until you have reached your previous levels of exercise. In this case, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Watch for any Side Effects

Next, be sure to keep an eye out for any of the side effects that your doctor or nurse may have mentioned in regards to the medication. Some antibiotics have been found to be linked to the development of yeast infections, which can be made worse by high amounts of cardiovascular exercise. If you notice the beginnings of any strange signs or symptoms, contact your GP or nurse and ask for guidance about continuing your current exercise level. More often than not, they will tell you to take a short break from exercise until the symptoms dissipate.

Keep a Diary

Finally, for best results when exercising while taking antibiotics, it is important to keep a journal that tracks your exercise sessions. Be sure to write down not only how long you exercised for, but also how you felt during the session, any side effects that you experienced, and when you took your antibiotics. Be sure to share this information with your GP. It can be essential in your health care.


Claire has an MSc in weight management and has an undergraduate degree in Sport & Exercise Science. Claire is an international presenter, guest speaker and regularly contributes to fitness magazines.  Amongst her many teaching fields Claire is a specialist Pilates trainer and the founder of the STRIDE project, a successful 12-week weight management programme aimed at de-motivated teenagers. Claire also specialises in, pre and post natal fitness, outdoor fitness and weight management style classes. Claire is an assessor and tutor for Drummond Education and a well-respected instructor within the industry.  Claire’s approachable and enthusiastic manner with a thirst for knowledge makes her one of the most up and coming presenters in the UK.