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Can You Exercise When You Have a Cold?

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A cold or the flu can really cause havoc when it comes to your daily routine — from having to stay home from school or work to having to cancel plans until you’re feeling better.

But what if going to the gym is part of your routine and it’s something you really love? Should you stay away from those cardio machines and weights until you’re 100 percent?

According to research, mild to moderate exercise during illness, such as during a viral respiratory infection, can have positive effects on the immune system. However, additional research explains that sick individuals should do a “neck check” before they decide whether or not they are going to participate in working out. This means if you are experiencing symptoms from the neck up — runny nose, nasal congestion, or sore throat — you should try to exercise for 10 to 15 minutes to see how you feel. If you experience any discomfort or worsening of symptoms, you should stop.

To help you navigate whether or not you want to work out while not feeling too good, we put together some pros and cons to think about before you hit the gym.

The Pros of Working Out With a Cold

You May Be Able to Find Relief From Congestion

A mild workout may help you feel better in an unexpected way: by easing congestion. According to the Mayo Clinic, mild to moderate exercise can help to open your nasal passages and temporarily relieve any nasal congestion you may be experiencing.

It Can Help You Boost Your Mood

If feeling under the weather has got you down, then perhaps doing a quick aerobics routine or a short jog will lift your spirits. A study from 2019 found that exercising for 15 minutes a day can greatly help boost your mood and keep depression at bay.

It Can Help With Anxiety

Being sick can wreak havoc on your everyday routine, which may cause you to feel anxious (especially if you have a lot of work to do). According to research, aerobic exercise, such as jogging, cycling, walking, or even gardening, can help ease anxiety and calm you down, helping you feel much more relaxed.

The Cons of Working Out With a Cold

You May Get Others Sick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends staying home when you are sick until you are feeling better, as you could risk spreading illness to other people around you. According to additional insight by Cedars-Sinai, if you have a cold, you may be contagious throughout the whole duration of it, sometimes even up to two weeks.

Working Out May Interfere With Time You Should Be Using to Rest

According to Harvard experts, you should get around seven hours of sleep per night in order to keep yourself feeling and functioning your best. This is extra important if you are experiencing illness or injury. Bottom line: make sure to prioritize rest, even if it means skipping a workout here and there by doing so.

When it comes to navigating your daily routine with a cold, it’s always best to defer to your intuition. If you feel pretty eh, chances are you should just stay home and rest (or pay a visit to your doctor if things feel really bad). But if you feel like you have the energy to get yourself to work or to the gym, ease your symptoms with Theraflu’s Multi-Symptom Severe Cold Hot Liquid Powder. Mix the powder with hot water to get soothing, fast relief for your cold and flu symptoms, including headache, sore throat pain, cough, body aches, and fever.

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