Awkwardly coughing your way through a workout? Completing your cardio with the sniffles? We talk about the age old question; should we be exercising with a cold? Read on and find out whether you need to stay on the couch for a while longer or launch back into your routine!
When we’re sick, our body is putting all its energy into fighting the illness. Just like the flu or a cold, exercise stresses your body; just in a far more productive and feel good kind of way. It depletes our glucose and fat stores, requires lots of oxygen and water, and fatigues our nervous and endocrine systems.
The ‘neck rule’ is an easy test to apply. If your symptoms are above the neck – sneezing or stuffed-up nose – it’s safe to break a sweat.
If your symptoms are flu-like or below the neck, like nausea or a fever, hold off the exercise completely, advises the ACSM.
Australian Institute of Fitness National Cert. 3 Master Coach, Thamsin Dunn, says if your symptoms are above the neck, there are some benefits to exercising through it.
“Gentle treadmill walking or flexibility exercises will increase your cardiovascular response and help boost your immune system. It will also make it easier to get back into your exercise habits once the illness has broken.”
If you’re a regular exerciser, things can feel worse when you’re trapped in your bed, and deciding whether to exercise with a cold often comes down to which is the lesser of two evils. If you’re unsure, read on for our do’s and don’ts!
If you are a fitness junkie, remember that it is better to fully recover from a cold then to train with it and get worse. The best thing you can do is listen to your body, if you are tired, rest. During the cooler months it is common for our immune systems to decrease and for our bodies to want to take a break so don’t beat yourself up if you have to take a few days to recover and mend your health. Your body will definitely thank you for it!
Lastly if you are experiencing flu or cold systems and your not sure if you should be exercising, book into see your doctor for further advice.