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Health Update

Monday, December 4, 2017

Courtesy of Russell R Van Hemert DC

Should You Exercise With a Cold?

The Effect of Exercise on Upper Respiratory Infections

By Elizabeth Quinn | Reviewed by a board-certified physician

Updated November 13, 2017

The average adult has two to three upper respiratory infections each year and many athletes wonder if they should continue their training routine when sick. Even non-athletes may struggle on whether they should continue to exercise with the cold or flu. Is it good or bad to exercise with a cold?

Whether or not you should exercise with a cold depends on several factors, but most important is the degree of exercise you are considering.

Intensive Exercise

Most researchers recommend that high-intensity exercise be postponed until a few days after the cold symptoms have gone away. When you are sick, your immune system is already challenged. Heavy exercise can reduce immunity and consequently your ability to fight illnesses (such as the cold and flu) even further.

Mild and Moderate Exercise

Whether you should engage in lesser levels of exercise also needs to be broken down, and depends on the extent of your symptoms:

  • While research is limited, most experts recommend that if your symptoms are above the neck and you have no fever, exercise is probably safe.
  • On the other hand, if you have symptoms or signs of a cold or the flu such as a fever, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, or swollen lymph glands, it's recommended that you take at least two weeks off before you resume intensive training

While exercise, in general, is helpful in many ways, overdoing it can both increase your risk of developing a cold and interfere with your recovery when you do get ill. Strenuous exercise should be avoided with a cold until all of your symptoms have resolved.

For mild colds, mild to moderate exercise is probably OK. If you have a fever, swollen glands, fatigue, or muscle aches, however, you should refrain from exercise until your "below the neck" symptoms are gone, and should avoid strenuous exercise for around two weeks.

By Verywell.com

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