Getting a cold or flu while you are working towards your fitness goals can seem like a big demotivator and set-back. One of the first questions you usually ask yourself is, “Is it possible to sweat out a cold? Is it safe for me to exercise while I am sick?”
Let me clear up your confusion with this article. Next time you come down with a cold or flu, you will know what to do.
Listen to Your Body. It will Tell You if You Should Exercise or Not.
If you are thinking of trying to sweat out a cold or flu in the gym, you need to take a few things into consideration. How severe are your symptoms, do you have a fever, and do you have any underlying diseases such as asthma or heart disease?
A good heart-pounding workout might make you feel great when you are healthy, but it will almost definitely make you feel worse when you are sick. It can also put too much stress on your immune system and may even prolong your recovery time. You need to keep your workout routine flexible.
Exercising When You Have a Cold
Research has shown that it is generally safe to exercise when you have a cold. As long as you keep your workout intensity low to moderate.
Working out may make you feel a bit better, but in truth, you are still as sick as you were before your workout. It also will not speed up your recovery time.
If you have an underlying medical condition such as asthma, heart disease, or other medical illnesses, you should check with your doctor first, as exercise may worsen an underlying medical problem.
Moderate exercise won’t prolong your illness or make your symptoms worse, but it may not shorten them, either. One possible benefit of exercising with a cold: If you’re generally well-hydrated, a workout can break up congestion. However, your congestion could worsen if you’re dehydrated.
When Can You Exercise When You Have a Cold?
You need to listen to your body when making this decision. Make sure you have enough energy and you are willing to exercise. Your symptoms need to be mild like just having the sniffs. You haven’t had any fever for at least 24hrs. If your answer is no to any of the above, then I would recommend skipping the exercises.
When Should You Avoid Exercises When You Have a Cold?
If you have any of these symptoms, rather skip your exercises until the symptoms have gone.
Please Remember Cough and Cold Etiquette
Gyms can turn into a breeding ground for viruses if you don’t take the right precautions when you are working out with a cold. If you do go to the gym when you’re sick or recovering, please keep the following in mind for others gymgoers, and yourself when using the gym
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, not your hands, as they are more likely to spread germs.
Throw used tissues in the trash and get a clean one as soon as possible.
Wipe off any equipment before and after you use them.
Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after your workout.
When You Should Seek Medical Attention if You Exercise While Having a Cold.
If you are working out with a cold and you start experiencing any of the following symptoms, get to your hospital or get an ambulance immediately.
Difficulty catching your breath
Chest pain or a feeling of indigestion
Worsening body aches
If you have enough energy to exercise, increasing your body temperature by sweating from exercise will help to kill many viruses. However, you need to be very careful and listen to your body, and not do your full exercise routine. You can stress your immune system even more and prolong your illness by doing your usual high-intensity workout
Intensive exercise boosts production of cortisol which is a stress hormone. Stress hormones inhibit the activity of a type of white blood cell that attacks and rids your body of viruses.
Most importantly, always listen to what your body is telling you, and if you feel too tired to work out, then don’t. What you need then is rest. If someone has said you shouldn’t exercise when you are sick, then you may want to reconsider. It could help you feel better, sooner, and it will mildly boost your immune system with some light exercise.
And the bottom line is, you can’t sweat out a cold.