Should I Exercise with a Cold?

by Chloe Waring in Training

Should I exercise with a cold?

With winter coming, many of us will be catching the common cold. This can be a massive set back in training and many of us aren’t sure whether we should go to the gym and battle through or stay at home and rest. The answer to this will depend on various factors which is what we are going to talk about today.

The main factor to look at when deciding whether to train when ill is symptoms. What symptoms are you showing and how severe are they?

Symptoms above the neck such as congestion, a sore throat or sneezing, continuing with light to moderate activity should be fine. If your energy levels allow it, you should be ok to do a workout but it’s advisable to dial back the intensity. Maybe switch out a usual workout for a walk or low intensity bike ride, if you would prefer to head to the gym maybe go for a yoga or Pilates class. Don’t overdo though, the phrase “sweat it out” can cause serious stress to the body and take its toll on the immune system leading to worsening symptoms and a longer road to recovery.

Symptoms below the neck such as nausea, vomiting, coughing, shortness of breath or diarrhoea, or even joint pain or fever, you should skip your workout and rest until fully recovered. These symptoms tend to be more serious and trying to exercise through it will put a huge toll on the body and could lead to becoming dehydrated, dizziness/feinting and could cause breathing problems. These type of illnesses related to these symptoms are also usually much more contagious, so best to stay home, curl up into bed and rest it out.

The main takeaway is – listen to your body. If you are asking yourself, “should I train through a cold”, you probably already know the answer. Our body is pretty good at giving us cues on what we can and cannot do, listen to those cues. If you can’t stand up without getting dizzy, or don’t feel well enough to go into work or meet up with a friend for dinner, you probably shouldn’t be heading to the gym.

Always contact a GP for medical advice.