The sound track to December can often be a cough or cold symphony.
The question for gym goers and those who love their exercise is whether you should still exercise if you are suffering a cough or cold? There are two parts to this question. The first is whether exercising with a cough or cold will help you recover or make things worse? The second question is one of etiquette. Should you go to the gym with a cough or cold and risk infecting others?
Can you sweat a cough or cold away?
The main things to consider when it comes to the first question are your symptoms and their severity. The main thing is not to get hung up on the need to exercise. If you are suffering a cough or cold and feel awful, then don’t push it. You will only feel worse.
However, if you have a cough or cold and still feel the need to exercise, then what are the do’s and don’ts?
It is generally agreed by medical experts that if someone has the common cold virus then it is safe to exercise. Doing a class or going for a run will not speed up your recovery but it also won’t make things any worse. According to research from the Northshore University Health System in Chicago, there is no difference in how the body responds to exercise when it is fighting a cold virus.
Dr Catherine Liu is associate professor of clinical medicine in the division of infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. She says: “Exercising with a cold is unlikely to cause complications if you do not have other medical problems.” The doctor warns that exercising with a cold virus can cause problems if you have asthma, heart problems or other medical illnesses. In these situations strenuous exercise should be avoided.
In general, if you are normally healthy, then you can exercise with a cold so long as the symptoms are mild. Just a runny nose for example, and no sign of fever.
Stay hydrated for swift recovery
Exercise should be avoided if you have a fever or your body aches. You should also not do aerobic exercise if you have a cough or flu symptoms. These include vomiting, diarrhoea or a rash.
Whatever symptoms you are showing, staying hydrated is vital to a swift recovery.
The old adage about sweating out a cold or cough is a myth, says Dr Liu. Sweating does not get rid of a cold, although a little exercise may help break up congestion. However, that will only happen if you are well hydrated. If you really can’t take a day or two to recover, then a walk is the best way to get some exercise while nursing a cough or cold.
Gym etiquette when under the weather
It is also important to remember your gym etiquette while you are suffering a cough or cold. The warm temperatures and close proximity to others can turn a gym into a hot-bed of infection. Taking some simple precautions will ensure that you do not spread your germs to other gym-goers.
Always cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Using your hands simply spreads the germs.
Always wipe any equipment you have used, thoroughly.
Throw tissues into bin once used.
Was your hands wth soap and water or a hand hygiene before and after your workout.
Follow this simple pieces of advice and you should make a swift recovery while keeping the germs to yourself.