The season has arrived when most of us are hit by a cold or bug. When you’re feeling rough, you might wonder whether to give exercise a miss. While your body needs time to rest, exercise can also help perk you up.
So what exactly is the right thing to do?
Exercising with a high temperature is a definite no no. Working out will increase the body’s temperature, which might lead to dehydration and feeling dreadful. You will probably be feeling wiped out anyway, so even more reason to just go to bed, drink plenty of fluids, and recover.
Remember the above-the-neck rule: sneezing and a runny nose usually mean you’re fine to exercise. But if you have a chesty cough or any upper respiratory infection you should lay off exercise or you might make symptoms worse.
If you have a mild cold but feel like you have plenty of energy, you can still workout, but avoid endurance training. Non-strenuous exercise has been shown to boost the body’s ability to fight illness, so there’s no excuse to lie in bed all day at the first sign of a sniffle.
But be sensible. If your usual routine makes you feel worse, try cutting back your workout e.g. run for 50% of your normal time, do 1 set of lifting rather than 4. Or try some gentler exercises such as yoga, swimming or walking.
Remember you’re also contagious for the first five to seven days, and other gym-goers won’t want to share your germs. Perhaps avoid the gym if you’re at the sneezy stage, or those in the line of fire won’t be best pleased!
A cold typically lasts for a week, so give yourself time to recover. Start at 75% of your weights and cardio workout and gradually build up, adjusting to how you feel each day. Experts recommend that you give yourself at least two weeks to get back to full intensity after an illness.
Finally, do your best to avoid getting a cold in the first place by exercising regularly, which lowers the risk of picking up infections and boosts your immunity.
yes, please don't go to the gym if you have a streaming cold. The rest of us really don't want to share!!
I definitely agree with avoiding workouts if you have any cough. I went for a run with a bit of a chesty cough last year (felt fine apart from that) and it made it so much worse, making me feel awful and not able to breathe heavily.
I have a cold coming at the moment and am at that stage I was wondering whether to workout or not. So good timing for me to read this - I will go to the gym cos it's only a vague sore throat and slightly heady, so I will go along but take it easy.