Antibiotics and sport: Everything you need to know about the topic

Antibiotika und Sport: Alles Wichtige was du zum Thema wissen solltest

Antibiotics are very often used for infections or inflammations to fight harmful bacteria in the body. However, these are not used for the flu, although many think that they will make you feel better quickly. In any case, you should take it slow, as taking antibiotics often makes you feel healthier than you actually are.

Many of us find it difficult to keep our feet still and the question inevitably arises: "When can I do sports again?" Taking an antibiotic is a strain on the body, as is exercise. That's why we created this article. We would like to explain to you to what extent antibiotics and sport get along and bring clarity to this topic. This article will take a neutral position on the subject.

the essentials in brief

  • Antibiotics put a strain on the body, which is why you shouldn’t put even more strain on it through sports, for example. A double load poses a greater risk to a person's health.
  • The worst consequence that such a load can bring is an inflammation of the heart muscle, which can be fatal. While this is not a common occurrence from such a compound, one should also be aware of such dangerous consequences when consuming antibiotics.
  • Antibiotics can destroy the intestinal flora because they attack foreign organisms such as bacteria. Not all exogenous bacteria are bad for the body, as many live in symbiosis with humans. Nevertheless, when taking antibiotics, benign bacteria are also killed, which leads to a disruption of the intestinal flora and symbolizes the physical strain that has already been mentioned.

Do your bones a favor

  • Our vitamin D3 helps to strengthen
    of bones, teeth, muscles and joints at 💪
  • It's also vegan 🌿
  • Get an automatic 21% discount when you buy now 💸*

Sunt Icon

*The discount is automatically applied to the product

Antibiotics and exercise: what you should know

This topic does not come out of nowhere, as many are unsure about questions about antibiotics and sports. Getting questions answered on this topic is an essential part of keeping track of this topic. For this reason, we have answered what we consider to be the most important questions here. These should give you clarity about exercise and antibiotics and clear up any uncertainties.

When can you return to exercise after taking antibiotics?

Most doctors believe that you can slowly start exercising again 2 to 3 days after you last took an antibiotic. That doesn't necessarily mean that you should restrict your movement completely.

It is important to note that you cannot start training again at 100%, since the strain on the body could still be critical(1.10">. Rather, you should slowly increase your training level back to your old level.

Walks in the fresh air are healthy and stimulate the circulation, if they don't put too much strain on you, they should also be taken when you take an antibiotic.

What else not to do when taking antibiotics?

In addition to exercise, there are other things to avoid that are not particularly compatible with antibiotics. Rest is still the most important thing for the body if the goal is to be a quick recovery. The main things to consider when taking it are:

  • Diet: Above all, light and vitamin-rich food such as vegetables, fresh fruit or chicken broth help to protect the body. Juices containing vitamin C as well as various herbal teas and mineral water are excellent beverages on the way to a speedy recovery. Avoid heavy foods, caffeine and alcohol as much as possible(1,3,10">.
  • Contact: Contacts with other people should be kept to a minimum, as they can lead to stress or other types of stress. Most importantly, you should not help your infection spread unnecessarily. Contact with children and older people in particular should be avoided completely here, as they have greater problems dealing with an infection.
  • Intolerances: Intolerances mainly relate to food. Special attention should be paid to allergies in the event of an infection. It is also very important when taking an antibiotic to wash it down with a glass of water and not milk, for example, as this changes the effect of the antibiotic(1,2,3,4">. Allergies or poor tolerance of the antibiotic is also a variable to look out for(4,5)
  • Stress: Physical and psychological stress can negatively impact recovery(1). It is therefore best to avoid working or too much contact with the outside world. Loud music can also increase stress levels. Warm baths with essential oils are recommended to strengthen the body's own defences. In general, the body should be kept warm. This also helps reduce stress levels.

With these considerations in mind, you should be able to sail safely around most cliffs. Nevertheless, some risks are individual, for example in terms of intolerance. If, despite the fact that you have followed these points, you continue to feel bad, there is really no shame in seeing a doctor you trust.

How do antibiotics affect the body?

Antibiotics support the body's defense system and help fight bacteria that are harmful to the body(1). This is necessary when bacteria have entered the body and are multiplying. Then they often trigger inflammation and can damage organs(2.3">. The effect of different antibiotics is quite diverse.

Some antibiotics kill the bacteria directly, while others stop bacteria from multiplying in the body(13). Also, mitochondria of our cells can bind with antibiotics, which can result in some side effects of the antibiotic(8).

tissues and nasal spray

Antibiotics are ineffective against the common cold(15). (Image sources: Diana Polekhina / Unsplash)

Unfortunately, antibiotics not only work against pathogenic pathogens, but also against beneficial bacteria that are in symbiosis with our body(1). These live mainly in the intestines, on the skin and in all mucous membranes. The basic principle for the use of antibiotics is therefore to take them as often as necessary and as seldom as possible.

This is because killing off benign bacteria weakens the human body and immune system, putting a lot of strain on the body(1). In addition, the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is promoted by frequent use of the same(4,7,13,14,16">.

Do your bones a favor

  • Our vitamin D3 helps to strengthen
    of bones, teeth, muscles and joints at 💪
  • It's also vegan 🌿
  • Get an automatic 21% discount when you buy now 💸*

Sunt Icon

*The discount is automatically applied to the product

What can happen if you exercise after taking antibiotics?

Taking antibiotics puts a strain on the body. This is because the job of an antibiotic is to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, there is no way for the antibiotic to distinguish benign bacteria from malignant bacteria, so it also kills benign bacteria that are in symbiosis with our body, resulting in a weakening of the body(1,10">.

Because of this debilitation, it is important to give the body the rest it needs. If you do sport anyway, the infection can be spread. Due to the further physical stress, the pathogens can spread more easily in the body, which can lead to various foci of inflammation(6,9,11,12">. These in turn further weaken the body and the full recovery of the body is delayed, since these are now After all, the body's immune system now has to fight on several fronts.

heart model

In the worst case, bacteria can collect on the heart valves. (Image sources: StockSnap / Pixabay)

In the worst case, bacteria can collect on the heart muscle, which can lead to myocarditis, also known as heart muscle inflammation. This inflammation of an organ essential for survival can even be fatal(17).

Should you refrain from exercising while taking an antibiotic?

Now the question arises, in view of such critical starting points, whether one should refrain from any movement of the body. This is a very important question, because sport in this case is not the same as exercise.

A walk in the fresh air can have a very positive effect on the course of the disease and a speedy recovery. This form of exercise gets the circulation going again and the fresh air itself also has positive effects.

However, it is important that this walk is not too strenuous. You should especially listen to your body in this case, since, as mentioned above, too much stress can have counterproductive effects(1,2,10,12">.

When does an antibiotic start working?

An antibiotic usually works very quickly and positive effects of the active ingredient should be noticeable after 1 to 2 days. Nevertheless, you should always take the antibiotic to the end, since pathogens may not have been completely broken down, which can lead to a new outbreak of the disease(1,2">.

Symptoms subside very quickly and breathing, for example in the case of pneumonia, soon becomes easier again. Mucus is also released more easily and the quality of sleep is improved.

How long should one not exercise after removing wisdom teeth?

Surgical removal of wisdom teeth is a special case in many people's lives, where antibiotics are usually used. In this case, the reason for taking antibiotics does not seem to affect athletic performance. However, even oral hygiene can have an impact on athletic performance, including wisdom teeth surgery, although why is not fully understood(11).

So, even in this unusual case, the same rules regarding sport apply. A longer break makes even more sense since you should wait to exercise after taking an antibiotic anyway. With the additional knowledge that the disturbed oral hygiene, which can result in the removal of wisdom teeth, could have performance-reducing effects on various sports, an additional rest period of one week after the last dose of an antibiotic is definitely not wrong(11,12" >.


In conclusion, it can be said that sport after an infection and the associated intake of an antibiotic can be hazardous to health. Even very bad health consequences could result from this behavior, which is why one should give the body the rest it needs to recover.

You should wait at least 2 days after taking the last dose before you can slowly start exercising again. However, this number is only a guideline, which can vary depending on the person and the infection. Exercise while taking it doesn't just have to be unhealthy. A relaxed walk in the fresh air can have a very positive effect on mood and condition.

Individual proofs(17)

  1. Mohr AE, Jäger R, Carpenter KC, Kerksick CM, Purpura M, Townsend JR, West NP, Black K, Gleeson M, Pyne DB, Wells SD, Arent SM, Kreider RB, Campbell BI, Bannock L, Scheiman J, Wissent CJ , Pane M, Kalman DS, Pugh JN, Ortega-Santos CP, Ter Haar JA, Arciero PJ, Antonio J. The athletic gut microbiota. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020 May 12;17(1):24. doi: 10.1186/s12970-020-00353-w. PMID: 32398103; PMCID: PMC7218537.
  2. Sippola S, Haijanen J, Viinikainen L, Grönroos J, Paajanen H, Rautio T, Nordström P, Aarnio M, Rantanen T, Hurme S, Mecklin JP, Sand J, Jartti A, Salminen P. Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction at 7 -Year Follow-up of Antibiotic Therapy vs Appendectomy for Uncomplicated Acute Appendicitis: A Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Surg. 2020 Apr 1;155(4):283-289. doi: 10.1001/jamasurg.2019.6028. PMID: 32074268; PMCID: PMC7042917.
  3. Cunha BA. Antibiotic side effects. Med Clinic North Am. 2001 Jan;85(1):149-85. doi: 10.1016/s0025-7125(05)70309-6. PMID: 11190350.
  4. Gladtke E. Tolerable and intolerable side effects of antibiotic therapy. Monthly prescription paediatrics 1984 Oct;132(10):760-4. German. PMID: 6569323.
  5. Cerny A. Side effects and consequences of frequently used antibiotics in clinical practice. Switzerland Med weekly 1996 Mar 30;126(13):528-34. German. PMID: 8658092.
  6. Core WV. Quinolone toxicity - new and reevaluated [Toxicity of quinolone antibiotics - new untoward effects and reevaluation of known side effects]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2019 Dec;144(24):1697-1702. German. doi: 10.1055/a-0899-2883. Epub 2019 Dec 2. PMID: 31791074.
  7. Bacanlı M, Başaran N. Importance of antibiotic residues in animal food. Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Mar;125:462-466. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.01.033. Epub 2019 Jan 30. PMID: 30710599.
  8. Singh R, Sripada L, Singh R. Side effects of antibiotics during bacterial infection: mitochondria, the main target in host cell. mitochondrion. 2014 May;16:50-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2013.10.005. Epub 2013 Nov 16. PMID: 24246912.
  9. Pinato DJ, Gramenitskaya D, Altmann DM, Boyton RJ, Mullish BH, Marchesi JR, Bower M. Antibiotic therapy and outcome from immune-checkpoint inhibitors. J Immunother Cancer. 2019 Nov 6;7(1):287. doi: 10.1186/s40425-019-0775-x. PMID: 31694714; PMCID: PMC6836427.
  10. Pérez-Cobas AE, Gosalbes MJ, Friedrichs A, Knecht H, Artacho A, Eismann K, Otto W, Rojo D, Bargiela R, von Bergen M, Neulinger SC, Däumer C, Heinsen FA, Latorre A, Barbas C, Seifert J , dos Santos VM, Ott SJ, Ferrer M, Moya A. Gut microbiota disturbance during antibiotic therapy: a multi-omic approach. Good. 2013 Nov;62(11):1591-601. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303184. Epub 2012 Dec 12. PMID: 23236009; PMCID: PMC3812899.
  11. Gallagher J, Ashley P, Petrie A, Needleman I. Oral health and performance impacts in elite and professional athletes. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2018 Dec;46(6):563-568. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12392. Epub 2018 Jun 25. PMID: 29938820.
  12. Angelucci F, Cechova K, Amlerova J, Hort J. Antibiotics, gut microbiota, and Alzheimer's disease. J Neuroinflammation. 2019 May 22;16(1):108. doi: 10.1186/s12974-019-1494-4. PMID: 31118068; PMCID: PMC6530014.
  13. Ferrer M, Méndez-García C, Rojo D, Barbas C, Moya A. Antibiotic use and microbiome function. Biochem Pharmacol. 2017 Jun 15;134:114-126. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2016.09.007. Epub 2016 Sep 15. PMID: 27641814.
  14. Patient information: medicine and reason Main Association of Austrian Social Security Institutions Austrian Chamber of Pharmacists Austrian Medical Association Pharmig, Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Austria Production power plant agency for new communication Burggasse 28–32, 1070 Vienna
  15. Kenealy T, Arroll B. Antibiotics for the common cold and acute purulent rhinitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 4;2013(6):CD000247. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD000247.pub3. PMID: 23733381; PMCID: PMC7044720.
  16. Davies J, Davies D. Origins and evolution of antibiotic resistance. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2010 Sep;74(3):417-33. doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00016-10. PMID: 20805405; PMCID: PMC2937522.
  17. Sagar S, Liu PP, Cooper LT Jr. Myocarditis. lancet 2012 Feb 25;379(9817):738-47. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60648-X. Epub 2011 Dec 18. PMID: 22185868; PMCID: PMC5814111.
Back to blog
Vorheriger Beitrag

Nächster Beitrag

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.