How To Exercise Safely 
While You're Sick?


Mild to moderate exercise is usually a good idea if you have a cold and no fever.  The general guide for exercising when sick is:  If your symptoms are above the neck DO exercise.

Examples:
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sneezing 
  • Minor Sore Throat

If your symptoms are below the neck and/or you have a fever DO NOT exercise.

Examples:
  • Chest congestion
  • Bronchial Tightness
  • Hacking cough
  • Upset stomach

Don't exercise if you are suffering from fatigue, dizziness or widespread muscle aches. Let your body be your guide. If feel miserable, take a break. Consider reducing the time and rigor of your exercise routine.  

Example:
  • Run a shorter distance or duration
  • Walk instead of run

Remember to check with your doctor if you aren't sure if it's okay for you to exercise due to your symptoms.

People who are able to exercise tend to feel better after an exercise session.  This may be due to opening of the nasal passages and exercise triggered increase in “feel good” hormones such as serotonin.  Should you have enough energy to exercise increasing your body temperature by sweating via exercise may also help to kill many viruses.  If your goal is to sweat your cold out ….seek exercises that will get you sweating.  The most efficient type of exercise to get a good sweat on are those that are cardiovascular based meaning heart rate intensive forms of training. 

Examples:
  • Spinning class
  • Hot Yoga class
  • Jogging / Running


According to studies, those who exercise on a regular basis show a stronger immune system than those who don’t. If you complete moderate exercise just a few times every week, you can drastically reduce the number of colds that you get every year. Though research continues on the link between enhancing the immune system exercise basic facts support the connection. 

Regular exercise makes your heart get stronger, your lungs more efficient at handling oxygen and your muscles stronger.  Your immune system is impacted in a similar way.  Researchers have found that exercise can enhance your immune system by providing a boost to the cells in your body that attack bacteria. Those same cells appear to work more slowly in people who don't exercise regularly than in those that do exercise. As a result if you exercise, your immune system is better equipped to handle bacteria that could cause you to become sick.  This exercise immune boost lasts for a few hours after you exercise, however, it often enough to help keep you healthier than you would be if you didn't exercise.  Also, individuals who exercise regularly train their bodies to be more efficient at managing physical stress.  Exercise is a form physical stress to the body; the body therefore becomes more efficient at handling and overcoming physical stress such as that of a common cold.

 


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