You wake up with a sore throat, runny nose, and general unwellness. Your first instinct may be to power through it and continue your usual workout routine. While exercise is essential for overall health and wellness, it can be challenging to determine if it’s safe and effective when you’re feeling under the weather. So, should you workout with a cold?
On the one hand, exercise has numerous health benefits and can improve the immune system’s ability to fight infections. On the other hand, pushing yourself too hard when you’re sick can worsen your symptoms and potentially lead to more serious complications. Let’s explore the pros and cons.
The effects of exercise on the immune system
Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on the immune system. When you engage in physical activity, your body produces more white blood cells that help fight off infections and viruses. Additionally, exercise can stimulate the production of antibodies and other proteins critical to immune function.
Should you workout when you have a cold or the flu?
While exercise can boost the immune system and help fight off infections, pushing yourself too hard while sick can do more harm than good. When you have a cold or flu, your body works overtime to fight the virus.
According to a 2014 study by Sports Health, fever increases fluid loss in the body and can make a person feel more exhausted.
While moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system and improve overall health, intense exercise can weaken it. This is because high-intensity workouts cause stress on the body, increasing cortisol levels that can suppress immune function.
What types of workouts are safe while under the weather?
If your symptoms are mild and above the neck (such as a stuffy nose), it’s generally safe to exercise with caution. However, if you have a fever or body aches, it’s best to skip the gym and rest until you feel better. When working out with a cold, choose low-intensity activities like walking or yoga instead of high-intensity workouts such as running or weightlifting.
Working out when you have a cold, or the flu is a personal decision that depends on the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throat, light exercise may help alleviate some discomfort. However, if you have more severe symptoms, such as fever or body aches, it’s best to rest and let your body recover.
It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard when sick, as this can prolong your illness and potentially lead to complications. Ultimately, prioritize rest and hydration while seeking medical advice if necessary. Take care of yourself, and stay healthy!
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Erika Marie is a fashion and beauty writer as well as a hardcore vintage clothing enthusiast. In her free time, she can be found thrifting for hidden gems to add to her collection.