Posted on October 23, 2018

Should I exercise if I have a cold?


If you are feeling unwell, it may be tempting to try to “sweat” the disease. However, before you fight your cold with a workout, you should think about the severity of your symptoms and whether exercise could make your condition worse.

Here’s a quick checklist for you:

  • Runny nose
  • sneezing
  • Tearing
  • Sore throat

You can still exercise with the above symptoms, but consider sticking to moderate training.

  • Cough
  • Tired
  • Tired
  • Congested and tight chest
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Stomach ache
  • Muscle aches
  • Temperature or fever

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

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



Sweating a lot during exercise can lead to dehydration which in turn can make symptoms worse. This is in part because your body needs fluid to loosen any congestion. Additionally, not drinking enough fluids can lead to blockage of the dry mucous membranes in your airways. Not the outcome you are aiming for!

Instead, think about how you can do a moderate workout without pushing your body to the max. If you are doing circuit training, consider adjusting the difficulty, such as lowering your normal weight or switching to a lower impact workout.


Do not go straight back to where you left off. Your body needs to readjust to exercise. Maybe start with a yoga class and build up your usual routine.


Regular, moderate exercise has been shown to reduce the likelihood of catching a cold. As the nights get longer and you are tempted to curl up where it is warm inside, be sure to find time to exercise as well. Remember to keep hydrating, it was easy in the summer when it was beautifully hot, 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 descend with the sniffles, you will breathe freely. Remember, we always appreciate the ability to breathe through our noses until we have a cold!


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