LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Is it safe to exercise when you’re sick? The answer depends on your symptoms and how sick you’re actually feeling. Mild to moderate physical activity is usually ok if you have a common cold and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion. To help yourself feel better and maintain your healthy habits, it’s essential to know the best workouts to do when you’re under the weather.
Is it ok to exercise if I have a cold?
- Exercise is usually ok if your symptoms are all "above the neck."
- These signs and symptoms include those you may have with a common cold, such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat.
- Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout.
- Don't exercise if your signs and symptoms are "below the neck," such as chest congestion, a hacking cough or upset stomach.
- Don't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches.
List of exercises that you can do when you’re under the weather
- 30 minutes of regular exercise three to four times a week has been shown to raise immunity by raising levels of T cells, which are one of the body's first defenses against infection.
- A 15-minute jog burns about the same number of calories as a half-hour brisk walk.
- Walking is particularly great for clearing your sinuses, as you take deeper breaths when you walk, and this helps open up your nasal passages.
- Of course, if you discover that walking—or any type of physical exertion—makes you feel worse, rather than better, stop and focus on getting rest.
2. Yoga/Pilates/Tai Chi
- Yoga is perfect for meditation, flexibility and even strength training.
- Because yoga is low impact and can be fairly relaxed, you can perform this exercise without pushing yourself too hard.
- Pilates helps control breathing to improve oxygenation to the entire body.
- Tai Chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching.
- Tai Chi also helps increase energy and stamina.
3. Light weights in front of the TV
- High reps with low weights can build muscle.
- To keep your muscles guessing, mixing high reps and low reps, either in the same or different workouts, is a great way to stimulate muscle growth and prevent boredom.
- Do it at home, where you won't be spreading germs and sharing your sickness with other weight lifters.
- 4. Dynamic stretching
- Stretching is an important component of any exercise program.
- It might seem like it’s low impact but stretching still works out your muscles.
- Stretching after you exercise helps optimize the range of motion about your joints and boosts circulation.
- Stretches to try:
- Hamstring stretch
- Gentle backbend
- Legs up the wall