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Colds and Exercise

Timeless Fitness Tip

Have a cold and wondering whether it's safe to workout?

Colds and Exercise - Man Sneezing

Above or Below the Neck?

A study published by the American College of Sports Medicine found that moderate exercise doesn't affect a cold's duration or severity, as long as symptoms are concentrated above the neck, such as a sore throat or runny nose.

But people with below-the-neck symptoms such as fever, sore muscles or diarrhea should avoid exercise.

Previous research shows that intense exercise can intesify symptoms though, so if you do workout with a cold, take it easy.

Don't Forget Fluids

Has your doctor ever told you to drink a lot when you are sick with a cold? The reason is the liquid keeps mucous membranes moist, enabling them to trap cold viruses and dispose of them before they can infect more of your cells.

The most recommended fluid is water, but diluted fruit juices, seltzer, decaffeinated coffee and tea work, too. Aim for eight glasses a day. Drinking enough fluids is especially important in the winter when indoor and outdoor air is much drier.

Wipe, Don't Blow Your Nose

"The nose is a germ cannon and there are many good reasons to avoid trying to set it off. " -- University of Arizona Microbiologist, Charles Gerba

Wiping your nose is something you were supposed to outgrow as a child. You were probably encouraged from a young age to blow your nose instead. But there is no scientific reason to avoid wiping your nose and there are good reasons to avoid blowing it.

When you are just blowing your nose into a tissue, you are spreading virus laden mucous into the sinuses, causing inflammation. Handkerchiefs are an ideal germ-spreader. Organisms persist from one load of laundry to the next, so if you are washing hankies in one load, you are actually blowing your nose on everything you wear, from one load to the next. Hot water can help reduce the effect, but won't eliminate it. When it comes to your nose, let it run, wipe it on a tissue and you won't share your germs with others or with yourself.

Scientists at the University of Virginia found that the more people with colds blew their noses, the longer their colds lasted. Wiping their noses, on the other hand, caused no worsening of the cold.

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