Cold season comes to every area of the country at one time or another, even to Alexandria, VA. Knowing whether you should workout when you have a cold will prepare you for the inevitable. There really isn’t one right answer, but many different answers, because, let’s face it, every situation is different. First, think of others. You’re contagious with a cold from a few days before symptoms until the symptoms disappear. If you go to a gym, you could be infecting others, so be kind and workout at home instead.
Take note of whether your symptoms are just in located in your head.
No, that doesn’t mean that the symptoms are imaginary and all in your head. It means if you have a runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion or a slight maybe a slight sore throat from drainage, it’s okay to exercise. The intensity of the exercise you do makes a difference, too. Don’t go aggressive and try to break your speed record running. Instead, go for a walk.
Is there something going on below your neck?
A bad sore throat might be one of the symptoms that keep you from doing your workout, but there are others and they all take place below the neck. Chest congestion and a bad cough make it hard to breathe, so your workout will be miserable at best and harmful at worst. Is your stomach upset? It could be a sign that your cold has gone to the next level into something more severe. Stay at home and get some rest.
There are some sure signs you need bedrest and maybe even a visit to the doctor.
If you’re running a fever, you have more than a common cold. Do you have chills, fatigue and achy muscles, check with your health care specialist and get rest. The illness is more than just a common cold. Your workout will be miserable if you attempt to workout. Remember that if you do workout, you risk the potential of making your illness even worse and putting yourself at risk of getting sicker. That could interfere with workouts even longer.
- Some people want to work through their illness and if that’s you, just take it easy on yourself and workout with less intensity. Cut your workout short or break it up to several smaller sessions.
- Beware of working out if you’re taking cold medication. Some cold medications, like decongestants, speed up your heart rate. When you workout, your heart rate also increases. That can lead quickly to shortness of breath.
- Listen to your body. You know when you feel too miserable to workout and take heed. If you’re unsure, try walking a bit. If you start to feel better, then exercising is the right thing to do.
- A strenuous workout triggers a stress response, which can lower your immune system. If you find you’re getting more colds than normal, look at your workout. Do you allow yourself a day off for recovery after a tough workout? If not, you may be adding to the problem.