Tips to decide if you should exercise with a cold

It’s a question that‘s been asked time and again and probably received just about as many different answers.
“Should you exercise with a cold?”
I went to the experts, ranging from talking to a local doctor to consulting the and all stated basically the same things.
According to, if you have a common cold with no fever then mild to moderate physical activity is usually OK.
“Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion,” the website stated.
As a rule of thumb, both and my doctor said these should be general guidelines applied to help you decide if you’re well enough to exercise:
* It’s all right to work out if your cold symptoms are all “above the neck,” such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat.
* If you do have these symptoms and decide to exercise, consider reducing the length of the workout and how hard you go about it.
* It’s usually advised not to work out if the symptoms are “below the neck,” such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach.
* Three other red flags that should cancel your workout for the day are these: Rest up if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.
If your symptoms are “below the neck” make getting better your top priority and take enough time off to do that. You shouldn’t notice too much of a performance drop off after missing several days.
If you try to work out too hard when you’re sick, you risk making your condition worse. Consult your doctor for the final word.
And one final piece of advice from my doctor: “Wash your hands frequently. It’s the No. 1 way to reduce your risk of catching a cold.”

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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