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December 15, 2016 by
Jay Medley
As everyone unfortunately knows, the winter is cold and flu season, leaving millions sniffling, coughing, and feeling lousy. When you’re feeling under the weather, you may wonder if you should still be working out.

While we understand (and appreciate!) your dedication to your health and fitness, there are certainly ups and downs to both sides of the issue.

Take a look at the reasons to and not to work out when you have a cold, listed below.


Why You Should Workout With a Cold

Studies show that a moderately intense workout can actually boost your immune system, helping you to get over a minor illness.

Some call it “sweating it out”, and it certainly can be done! Experts say not to work out if you have a fever, and that if your symptoms are “above the neck” – like a sore throat, sniffly nose, or watery eyes – then you are ok to exercise.

To do so, you should focus on less intensive exercises. This includes walking, bike riding, or certain types of yoga.

The possibility of helping your immune system fight off the infection is the overwhelming reason to hit the gym while you are experiencing a cold.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Workout With a Cold

Depending on how sick you are, working out while fighting off an illness could actually make matters worse.

As mentioned above, you should never workout if you have a fever, as this could aggravate the illness and make symptoms worse.

You should also not workout if you are feeling fatigued – that is a sign that your body needs rest to fight off infection, not to expel energy at the gym.

Many times, rest is the best medicine and is what your body needs to feel better.

Other symptoms that point to exercise being a bad idea are vomiting, diarrhea, muscle soreness and body aches, and enlarged lymph nodes.


Another reason to skip the gym during a cold or illness is to avoid passing your sickness along to others.

Touching different equipment and shared spaces at the gym is an easy way to spread germs.

Think about whether you would want someone in your condition on the treadmill next to you or using the same free weights.

If the answer is no, you probably should stay home to avoid getting those around you sick.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: go with how you feel. If you feel as though you have the energy to work out and do not have a fever, it is safe to do so in moderation.

However, if you are feeling tired and weak, you should stay home and give your body the rest it is craving in order to get better.

Remember that a few days off from the gym are not going to ruin your fitness, and that the most important thing is to listen to your body and ensure you get better as quickly as possible, even if that means missing a few days at the gym.

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