Exercising when you have a cold. Should you do it? I have had this internal dilemma for the past week or so. Sometimes I use it as an excuse and say to myself “No, you should not run, you may waste needed energy or prevent your immune system from performing at your best.” What I am really doing is trying to find some sort of justification for skipping a day of exercising and when I go to sleep at the end of the day, I end up feeling guilty about not exercising. Needless to say, I have gone out for a run every other day this week.
What do the experts say? Contrary to my belief, studies have actually shown that exercise will help your immune system fight simple infections like colds and flu. Regular exercise is much more beneficial toward keeping your healthy, but if you are already sick, it probably will not hurt you either. Because exercise may help to boost immune function, it’s usually safe to exercise with a cold. For the common cold, exercising is beneficial for you; plus, you will get some fresh air out of it.
However, there are a few really important things to take into account if you are exercising while sick with a cold. One is that you need to listen to your body and to respect its limits. If you take cold medications such as decongestants, then your heart rate will most likely increase. Adding exercise into the mix, you might risk having too high of a heart rate. This could also result in becoming short of breath and having difficulty breathing.
If you have a fever, then that is a completely different story. Having a fever could make you and your body even more stressed. Stressing out your body will make you feel worse and if could definitely prevent a full recovery from occurring.
The key to exercising is, as always, moderation. You do not want to keep pushing your body so much so that it becomes stressed and tired, but exercising a moderate amount help keep your immune system up to par.
I hope that you stay healthy this winter so that you don’t have to worry about exercising with a cold!