Should You Exercise With a Cold?
By: Ryan Halvorson, Performance Specialist
As outdoor temperatures turn cold, it’s more likely that you’ll spend more time indoors. Researchers suggest that this may translate to a greater likelihood of developing a cold or flu due to increased person-to-person contact. As a stalwart exerciser you might wonder if it’s safe or beneficial to exercise with a cold. Here are recommendations on exercising while sick from the American College of Sports Medicine:
• DO exercise moderately if your cold symptoms are confined to your head. If you’re dealing with a runny nose or sore throat, moderate exercise is permissible. Intense exercise can be resumed a few days after symptoms subside (in cases of the common cold).
• DON’T “sweat out” your illness. This is a potentially dangerous myth, and there is no data to support that exercise during an illness helps cure it.
• DO stay in bed if your illness is “systemic” – that is, spread beyond your head. Respiratory infections, fever, swollen glands and extreme aches and pains all indicate that you should rest up, not work out.
• DON’T jump back in too soon. If you’re recovering from a more serious bout of cold or flu, gradually ease back into exercise after at least two weeks of rest.
It’s also prudent to consider others when deciding to attend your favorite group exercise class. Exercise can temporarily dampen the immune system which makes those around you more susceptible to any virus you may have. When in doubt, stay home and rest. Your fellow gym-goers will thank you for it.