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Should I Exercise If I Have A Cold?

Posted on 23 October 2018

If you are feeling under the weather, it can be tempting to try to ‘sweat out’ the illness. However, before battling your cold with a workout you need to think how severe your symptoms are and if exercising could exacerbate your illness.

Here is a quick checklist for you:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat

You can still exercise with the above symptoms but think about keeping it to a moderate workout.

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Congested and tight chest
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle aches
  • Temperature or fever

If you have any of these symptoms, you should try not to exercise until they have all gone!

This list is not definitive, you need to listen to your body. Take the time to take stock – is your body asking for a break? If it is do so. Also, speak to your GP for further advice.


Sweating a lot during exercise can lead to dehydration which in turn can make symptoms worse. This is partly because your body needs the fluid to loosen any congestion. In addition, not drinking enough fluid can result in dry mucus membranes becoming stuck in your respiratory tract. Not the result you are aiming for!

Instead, think about how you can complete a moderate work out without pushing your body to the max. If you are circuit training think about adjusting the difficulty, such as lowering your normal weight, or opting for lower-impact training.  




Don’t jump straight back into where you left off. Your body needs to adjust back into exercise. Maybe start with a yoga class and build up to your normal routine.


A regular routine of moderate exercise has been proven to reduce the likelihood of catching a cold. So as the nights get longer, and the temptation to curl up where it is warm inside, make sure that you are also finding time to get active. DON’T forget to keep on hydrating yourself though, this was easy in summer when it was beautifully warm but now is the time to be extra vigilant. Combine a regular routine with a balanced diet and adequate sleep and while those around you go down with the sniffles you will be breathing freely. Remember that we always under appreciate the ability to breathe through our nose until we have a cold!

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