Should You Work Out When You Have A Cold?
Here's how to determine the best option for you.
Many of us woke up in 2018 with the best of intentions. We wanted to eat healthier, exercise more and shed some pounds. But while some have already abandoned those lofty goals, those of us who are still trying to make it to the gym on a regular basis are left wondering how to do so in the midst of a terrible cold and flu season.
When should you call in sick to the gym? How do you know whether you should take a day off or simply power through your symptoms?
First of all, it depends on where those symptoms are located. Medical expert Raul Seballos, M.D., vice-chair of the department of preventive medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, tells Men’s Fitness that if your symptoms are above the neck (sniffling, sore throat, achy head), you should be fine to work out. Provided, of course, you have the energy and desire to do so. But if your symptoms are below the neck (nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, body aches, etc.), you need to take a couple days off from your gym routine.
It’s also important to consider what type of medication you’re taking to treat your symptoms. If you’re taking medicine that contains pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine (such as Sudafed or Sudafed PE), be aware that these medications can increase your heart rate. If you combine this medication with intense cardio, your heart could start pumping at a even faster rate than normal. Keep this in mind and perhaps consider cutting the intensity of your workouts in half (for example, taking a restorative yoga class instead of running on the treadmill).
Interestingly, research shows that exercise can actually help prevent you from getting sick. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that women who engaged in moderate levels of exercise on a regular basis ended up getting significantly fewer colds than women who didn’t exercise.
Wow. Who knew moderate exercise could help keep the sniffles away? Just another reason to lace up your sneakers and get moving.