Health and Fitness: Should You Exercise When You’re Sick?

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Although regular exercise improves your health and fitness and helps prevent illness, what happens when you do come down with a cold? Should you stick with your routine, or is it better to rest?

The answer is: It depends.

According to this article from WebMD, it’s usually safe to exercise with a cold. However, it’s important to listen to your body. Sometimes cold medications such as decongestants can increase your heart rate, so the combination of exercise and decongestants can cause your heart to pump very hard. Be sure to stop and call your doctor if you have increased chest congestion, difficulty catching your breath, coughing and/or wheezing, chest tightness or pressure, trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath, light-headedness or dizziness, or difficulty with balance.

If your body is telling you to rest, it’s fine to take a few days off, eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep, and focus on healing. Even if you do feel like exercising while you’re sick, you might want to take it easy:

If you have a fever, exercise may stress your body even more. That’s why it’s important to wait a few days to get back to your regular exercise regimen. Working out too hard with a cold could stress your body, causing you to feel worse. This additional stress may hinder your recovery.

Once you’re feeling better, don’t forget to ease back into your workout routine. Regular, moderate exercise can help boost your immune system and prevent you from catching another cold.

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