Whether or not to exercise when you have a cold?

You have a runny nose. Your throat hurts. Can you sweat out that cold while exercising? Or does that just make it worse? We tell you what you need to know.

What is a cold?

The flu season has started again. A cold, also called a flu infection, is an acute infection of the upper respiratory tract . Typical cold symptoms are:

  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Hoarseness and sore throat
  • Painful limbs
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • In worse cases: fever

A cold is mainly caused by viruses that attack the immune system from the outside. Your body is weakened and is working hard to fight the viruses. You feel weak and tired.

Our tip:

Especially in autumn and winter it is important to support your immune system and provide it with optimal vitamins and important nutrients. Do you eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day?

The consequences of sports

Exercise is good for your immune system when you are healthy. But if you are sick, this is a bit different. To get better quickly, the immune system needs all of its energy reserves .

When you exercise, you expose your body to double stress . This is often too much for the immune system. Your cold can get worse and last longer.

By exercising the cold virus is also encouraged to by your body moving . If the virus reaches the heart muscle, there is a risk of heart muscle inflammation . In the worst case, this can be life-threatening.

Our tip: Your health comes first. If you find yourself getting sick, give your body some rest. Drink enough water, sleep well and eat a balanced diet. This way you get fit again quickly.

Sweating out a cold

Sweating out a virus doesn’t work ! Heavy training and sweating are more likely to spread the infection and can only make your cold worse.

Exercise during a cold: the neck check

Should you take a workout break right away if you start to catch a cold? It is not that easy to answer this question. Every cold is different. For mild upper respiratory illness, light physical activity can help you regain your health more quickly.

Moderate exercise can improve blood flow to the nasal mucosa. You feel a little better again. But beware ! Wait a moment until you really feel good again. Otherwise it will only get worse.

Do the neck check to be sure: If you have symptoms above your neck (for example a cold or a runny nose), you can start exercising. However, exercising is taboo for symptoms below your neck (such as swollen tonsils, painful limbs and fever)!

Don’t risk your health. Avoid risks and give your body a few days of rest. A few days off from training won’t have a big impact. You will not immediately lose muscle or gain weight.

Duration of the training break: When can I exercise again?

Do you feel completely fit again? Super! Finally you can start exercising again !? Better not! Even when you feel better again, you are not sure if your body has already fought all viruses. If you start exercising too early and too intensively, your cold can come back in no time.

The rule of thumb is: The longer the cold lasts, the longer the training break should last. When the fever has subsided, wait at least 1 week before starting again. If you have not had a fever, you can start exercising again one or two days after your symptoms disappear.

Even if you feel top fit again, build up your training slowly . Your body has had a hard time and is not in top shape. When in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.

Conclusion:

  • Sports with a fever and symptoms below the neck is taboo.
  • If you have a mild cold, you can exercise moderately.
  • Heavy training and heavy sweating weaken your body and slow down the healing process.
  • Wait for all cold symptoms to pass.
  • Avoid Overload: After a cold, start with a light workout.

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