Exercising While Sick: Is It Safe to Work Out With a Cold?

If, however, you do have symptoms below the neck, such as a hacking cough, chest discomfort, nausea, diarrhea or body-wide symptoms like fever, muscle aches or fatigue, “then it’s not a good idea to exercise,” Jeffrey Woods , a professor of kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said via email.

Also keep in mind that symptoms can evolve, and what might begin as a runny nose could later become something more serious, like bronchitis or the flu. Proceed with caution, keep tabs on how you’re feeling and skip the workout if you start to feel worse.

“There’s this myth that you can sweat out a virus, but that is a terrible thing to do,” said David Nieman, a professor of biology at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the North Carolina Research Campus. If you’re not feeling well, heavy exercise can exacerbate your symptoms and increase your risk for complications, he said. “It has the potential to really bring you down.”

If your condition does deteriorate, it’s best to rest until the symptoms go away, Dr. Nobody said. “Then, gradually get back into the routine,” he added. “Relapse can be common if you get back too quickly and push hard.”

In rare cases, exercising intensely while you’re sick, or shortly after you’ve recovered, could lead to new or lingering symptoms like exhaustion or unexplained pain. Researchers believe this phenomenon is similar to how some people develop long Covid or chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME/CFS), which are illnesses that can develop after an acute infection. “It can be serious for a small percentage of people if they push exercise too hard during the illness or soon thereafter,” Dr. Nobody said. “You may enter into this unexplained syndrome, and it’s not worth the risk.”

Written by trendingatoz

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