The Golden Rules of Exercising With a Cold

Jun 26, 2014 | by AIF

Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing with a cold, but light to moderate activity can help you to feel better, according to doctors.

The rule of thumb is that if your symptoms are above the neck – sneezing, coughing, stuffed-up nose – it’s safe to break a sweat.

If your symptoms are flu-like or below the neck, like nausea, hold off the exercise completely, advises the American College on Exercise.

If you decide a little exercise is just what the doctor ordered then here are some of the dos and don’ts of working out with a cold:


    • Walk. Walking can open your airways and help you breathe.
    • Run. Running is a natural de-congestant too, but hold off on the marathon training. Research has found that prolonged exercise of 1.5 hours will compromise your immune system for up to 24 hours afterwards.
    • Yoga. Yoga gently stretches aches and pains away, and may lower cortisol levels produced when your body fights a cold.


    • Don’t go for a dip. Chlorinated water can irritate skin and eyes, and is a good way to spread germs.
    • Don’t get too adventurous. Outdoor activities in the cold like biking which will dry your airways.
    • Don’t share it around. Keep away from team sports – no one wants your cold.


At the Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF), we are no stranger to the competitive and evolving nature of the fitness industry. That’s why we remain the #1 fitness educator since 1979. We continuously raise the bar by providing the best education and resources through dynamic and hybrid training methods that mould to your lifestyle. We are strong believers in evidence over fads, so you can be assured your training with AIF will solidify your career for the long-term.

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