Should You Work Out With A Cold

Working Out With A Cold: Should You Do It?

Dealing with a cold and stuffy nose, should you still work out?

Well, this really depends on your symptoms because all colds are not the same.

There are a ton of factors to take into account before exercising when sick.

However, there are specific situations when it is okay to exercise with a cold if you are up for it.

Not to mention there is a delicate balance between your capacity to engage in physical exercise and your immune system’s ability to fight illness.

Continue reading to find out when you can exercise if you have a cold, how if affects your immune system, and which workouts you can do.

Can you sweat out a cold?

Can you sweat out a cold

Pushing your body when you have a cold could aggravate your condition and makes it harder for you to fight off the infection.

Not to mention the length of time gets extended for you to recover.

You can also risk yourself from becoming dehydrated.

You need to make sure to stay hydrated when you are ill.

When is it safe to work out with a cold?

When is it safe to work out with a cold

The “neck rule” should be followed if you want to work out while having a cold.

You can exercise if all of your symptoms are above the neck.

But you generally shouldn’t exercise if your symptoms are below your neck. 

An athlete follows this guideline during the days they are ill.

You are permitted to exercise if you have the following symptoms:

  • Clogged nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Sinus pressure

What are the circumstances in which you shouldn’t exercise when sick?

What are the circumstances in which you shouldn’t exercise when sick

The neck rule also applies in this situation. 

It’s advisable to hold off on exercising if you have symptoms below the neck or a fever.

If you experience any of the following, avoid exercise:

  • Cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Body pain
  • Fever
  • General chest discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Consider this as a general rule for exercising when ill: 

  • If all of your symptoms are “above the neck,” exercising is typically okay. A runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, and a mild sore throat are some of them.
  • Reduce the duration and intensity of your workout. Take a walk as an alternative to running, for instance.
  • If you have “below the neck” signs and symptoms including chest congestion, a cough that won’t stop, or an upset stomach, avoid exercising.
  • If you have COVID-19 or any infectious infection, avoid exercising with other people.
  • If you have a fever, are worn out, or have severe muscular pains, avoid intense activity.

Use your body as a map and take a rest if you feel bad. 

When you’re ill, taking a few days off from exercising shouldn’t have an impact on your performance. 

As you start to feel better, you will gradually return to your regular exercise schedule. 

If you’re unsure about whether it’s okay to exercise or not, speak with your doctor.

If you have a fever or other more serious symptoms, avoid working out for a day or two to give your body time to recuperate if you have a fever, chills, body pains, or a cough, especially if you have any underlying medical concerns. 

You ought to consult with your doctor first if you have an underlying medical condition like asthma, COPD, or heart disease because exercise can make these conditions worse.

Should you work out when you have a cold?

Should you work out when you have a cold

As long as you pay attention to your body, it’s typically safe to do. 

But, there are certain risky circumstances that you need to watch out for.

Both physical exertion and some cold medications could make you breathe faster. 

Therefore, combining exercise with a decongestant could make your heart beat rapidly. 

You can experience breathing difficulties and shortness of breath.

Before exercising if you have asthma and a cold, make sure to discuss it with your doctor. 

It could make you more prone to wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

Exercise puts your body under greater stress when your cold is accompanied by a fever. 

So give it a few days before starting your usual exercise routine again.

Plus, you ought to avoid overtraining while you have a cold. 

You can feel worse and recover more slowly as a result.

How does exercise impact your immune system when you have a cold?

How does exercise impact your immune system when you have a cold

You are already aware of all the advantages of exercising from your school books or parents or any guardian from a young age. 

Research indicates that being physically fit could reduce your risk of contracting the common cold. 

However, there is still much to learn about how exercise could boost your immunity. 

The following are a few ways that engaging in moderate exercise could strengthen your innate and adaptive immune systems:

  • Exercise improves your body’s flow of white blood cells, which can speed up the detection of infections by your immune system
  • During exercise, a temporary increase in body temperature could assist your body to  fight off illness and stop bacteria from multiplying
  • Moderate activity places your body under additional stress, which could help your immune system by forcing it to adapt, learn how to respond better, and get stronger over time

Your immune system can benefit from regular exercise, but there are concerns to be aware of before working out when you’re ill. 

Exercise could be detrimental rather than beneficial when you have a cold since it puts additional physical strain on your immune system. 

Exercising too soon after being sick could compromise your immune system’s reaction. 

Engaging in regular, vigorous exercise raises your chance of getting sick. 

You can also run the danger of getting hurt. 

Therefore, resting is definitely preferable to working out if you feel weak or physically worn out.

Which workouts are safe to do when sick?

Which workouts are safe to do when sick

If your cold symptoms can be controlled and you’re still in the mood to work out then go for a moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity for 30 to 45 minutes a session.

A low-impact workout on an elliptical machine or stationary cycle as well as a brisk 30-minute stroll outside is also safe to do when you have a mild cold. 

To prevent spreading your illness to others, try not to go to the gym and perform your workout routine at home. 

Consider it your cue to stop working out if you ever get dizziness, tightness in your chest, or any type of pain.

However, if all goes according to plan, you could have a psychological lift following exercise, which could otherwise depress you when you are ill.

Once your cold has completely subsided, carefully resume your exercise regimen while gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your workouts. 

According to research, frequent, moderate exercise can actually reduce inflammation, boost your immune system, and reduce your chance of developing upper respiratory infections in the first place when you’re healthy.

Recall that extreme exercise can boost your body’s needs and could even momentarily suppress your immune system.

This is why it’s not a good idea to overtrain or engage in several exercise sessions throughout the day while you’re sick with a cold, even a mild one.

Instead, try to concentrate on doing reasonable amounts of activity that won’t cause you to lose your fitness gains but also won’t make your symptoms worse.

Here are a few examples:

  • Partake in low-impact aerobic activity
  • Employ low-impact workout gear like an elliptical or a bicycle to walk
  • Reduce your workout volume and intensity until you begin to feel better
  • Exercises requiring balance or upside-down positions, such as yoga, should only be performed with caution if you have a cold or stuffy nose or ears

How can you get over a cold more quickly?

How can you get over a cold more quickly

The good news is that colds typically go away on their own. 

You can resume exercising after a few days when they usually go.

Therefore, taking care of yourself while you’re sick can aid in your recovery. 

Examples include:

  • Getting enough rest
  • Drinking water to prevent dehydration
  • Washing your hands often to prevent catching or spreading other diseases
  • Using drugs that could help you manage your symptoms, such as over-the-counter painkillers for discomfort or headaches

It could be beneficial to give yourself some time to go back into your regular workout routine while gradually increasing your effort over a few days. 

Take away

If your cold just affects your neck and upper body, you can perform a light workout. 

Remember that you need to restrict the time or intensity.

It is advisable to wait until you feel better if you have symptoms from the neck down.

It could be time to go to your doctor if you ever start to feel worse or your cold doesn’t seem to improve.

Maintaining an active lifestyle is a fantastic way to enhance your overall health, and it can even strengthen your immune system. 

However, if some bacteria manage to sneak past your defenses, then exercise with caution and don’t overdo it, and you’ll soon be back to your usual workout schedule.


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