Is it Safe To Exercise With A Cold?We have all been there: You wake up feeling like warm death. Your nose is so stuffed up that you can barely breathe, and the idea of the coming day makes you want to cringe. One question that immediately comes to mind is about your upcoming trip to the gym and is it safe to exercise with a cold? For a serious athlete, a head cold is nothing more than a nuisance and wouldn’t deter most from missing a scheduled workout and we all know the old wives tale of the sweating out a cold. The hard and fast rule that I use with my personal training clients has always been to go ahead and exercise with a cold as long as the symptoms were confined to coughing, sneezing and mild malaise. If fever or body aches are included in the symptoms, however, I always advocate rest. Personally, when I exercise with a cold I don’t usually scale back my high intensity workouts. Sometimes I will go to the gym intent on taking it easy when I have a cold, but 99% of the time I end up training as hard as I always do once I am all warmed up and my blood gets pumping. Thanks to the strides in our understanding of human biology we know today that while it is physically impossible to ‘sweat out a cold’ - it might not only be safe to exercise with a cold but actually beneficial and speed up the healing process!
Study Finds No Decrease In Capacity In Subjects That Exercise With A ColdA study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise conducted at Ball University found that there was no decrease in lung function or exercise capacity in the test subjects exercising after being infected with the rhinovirus, even though they all reported feeling tired and run down from their infection. In the same study, researchers found that there was no difference in overall symptoms between those that rested and those that continued to exercise with a cold. In fact, the results from the questionnaires found that those that did exercise with a cold reported feeling significantly better after their training sessions.
Exercising With A Cold Is Not Only Safe But Can Help You Feel Better Faster!As I mentioned before, for serious athletes a cold is hardly an issue. I have worked with clients that have run marathons with a cold and clocked their best times in the process! I myself even won a bodybuilding contest with a really bad head cold a couple of years back! If you reflect on the harsh and unforgiving nature of life for humans as a species for the past several thousand of years of our existence, it makes sense that in a time when survival depended on physical exertion that nature would equip us with the ability to achieve peak performance even with a cold.
It says a lot as well about our own mindset, and just how little of our potential that we tap into on a daily basis. So next time you come down with a head cold, don’t let it keep you from continuing your workout regime as long as you don’t have any lower body symptoms or fevers. You might even feel better in the process!