January 21, 2019
Woman Suffering From Cold Lying In Bed With Tissue
Ask the Experts

Exercising with a Cold

by Berkeley Wellness  

Q: Should I stop exercising when I have a cold?

A: It’s a myth that you should stop. Studies have found that it doesn’t matter whether people with colds exercise or rest—the duration and severity of the colds are the same.

Colds vary in severity, of course, and people react differently to them. A lot depends on how bad you feel and how much you exercise. For instance, long, strenuous exercise can briefly depress the immune system and may actually make you more susceptible to colds and flu. Your expectations may also play a role: If you expect that your cold will interfere with your usual workout and make you feel worse, it’s more likely it will.

If you have a cold or feel one coming on, it won’t hurt to exercise. It’s best to start slowly and at a lower intensity than your usual work-out, and see how you feel. If you feel worse, stop. If you feel okay, work up to your normal routine. If you have signs of a more serious infection (fever, swollen glands, fatigue, diarrhea, or vomiting), discontinue your workouts until you have fully recovered.

See also: Can Supplements Fight Colds?