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Exercising with a cold: Dos and don'ts

by John Burns (follow)
Exercise & Fitness (67)     
Catching a cold leaves you in a kind of health limbo. On the one hand, you feel rubbish and know you should probably rest up until it passes, but on the other hand, you don’t feel that you should put your whole life on hold because of a measly little cold.



Image from Pixabay
Image from Pixabay


As a runner you will be well versed in the creed of running whatever the weather. Be it rain or shine, you’ve probably donned your kit and headed out on a run. You’ve probably even been tempted to run on a niggly little injury that won’t go away – something you definitely shouldn’t do!

But what about when you have a cold? You don’t want to exacerbate the illness, but you also don’t want it to mess up your programme. So what should you do?



Image from Pixabay
Image from Pixabay


The first thing to do is be honest about your illness and to listen to what your body is telling you. Are you experiencing dizzy spells? Are you wheezing or coughing a lot? If so, than the illness has weakened you, and putting extra strain on your body by exercising is not a good idea.

But if – in all honesty – you’re just feeling a little run down and sniffly, a burst of physical exercise could give you the boost you need, not only to combat the cold, but also to alleviate the nagging blues associated with it.

The 'neck rule' is useful to bear in mind. If the symptoms of your cold are mainly confined to your neck and above – for example, sneezing or mild headaches – it’s usually safe to exercise. If the trouble is below your neck – coughing and wheezing etc – then take a few days off to recuperate.



Image from Pixabay
The neck rule is a good way to determine whether exercising is a good idea or not. Image from Wikipedia


If you do decide you are fit enough for a run, remember to take it easy. Even if you feel fine, go at a slightly gentler pace than you would usually. This way you are keeping your jogging regimen ticking over without worsening the symptoms of your illness, and your body will thank you in the long run!

One last thing to remember; if your symptoms worsen mid-run then it is time to head home. Always listen to your body, don’t over-stretch yourself and, if in doubt, consult a health professional.

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