Should You Exercise When You Have a Cold?

There’s nothing more frustrating than catching a pesky cold especially at this time of year, when the festive social calendar is building up and you’re trying to fit in your exercise routine around silly season.

We all do it.…we google our symptoms and the next thing you know we’ve diagnosed ourselves with a rare form of coldalitis, we’ve told our loved ones we’re officially passing away, and it was nice knowing them! But things don’t have to be that dramatic and we don’t have to cancel that gym membership!

So can you exercise with a cold? Here is the low down on what medical professionals would suggest:

From the neck up…..

Mild to moderate physical activity is usually ok here if you have common cold symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

It is advised though to reduce the intensity and length of your workout. Instead of going for a run, take a walk for example, or try out yoga.

From the neck down…..

If your symptoms are more troublesome below the neck, pushing on is not recommended. This includes any muscular or joint pains and aches, chest congestion, or a temperature. Exercising with these symptoms, particularly a fever, can prolong your illness and can be dangerous.

In general….

Exercise helps boost your immunity, but pushing yourself too hard can temporarily have the opposite effect. Just let your body be your guide. If you feel awful take a break.

While it’s easy to fret about all your hard work being undone by a break from your exercise routine, missing a few days or a week is not going to have a huge impact. Embrace your rest and you’ll be back to it in no time!

Remember it’s always best to consult a medical professional for expert advice if you aren’t feeling well!

Niamh Holohan

Fitness Instructor/Group Events & Communications Manager