Exercising through a cold

Most people have their standard ways of getting rid of their colds, should exercise be one of those standards?

The winter weather will soon be upon us and we will be spending more time indoors than we did during the summer months. This time spent in doors gives a better chance for germs to be spread from person to person causing the common cold to be shared among friends and family.

Many people believe when they are suffering from cold symptoms, they should lie around the house not moving much so their body can fight off the cold, but this may not always be the case. There are some parameters to follow when suffering from illness and considering lying around the house or following your regular exercise routine.

If you are suffering from a head cold, meaning most of the congestion you are experiencing is above your neck, an easier exercise session followed by a warm shower may actually get some of that head clogging mucus out of your head and help you recover more quickly from the cold. It’s not easy to set out for an exercise bout, but it may help in the long run to get back to your daily schedule.

On the other hand, if your cold is lower than the neck such as chest congestion, annoying cough, or upset stomach, it is advised by an article by the Mayo Clinic to not exercise. Exercising when you are experiencing these symptoms may compromise the immune system making your body more susceptible to the bacteria and viruses already making you sick, which could increase the chance of you getting sicker instead of getting better.

To add to the list of times you should not exercise when you’re sick, you should not exercise when you are suffering from a fever or are experiencing body aches. If you push through during these times, your body may become too fatigued and use up needed energy, nutrients, lowering white blood counts to make it difficult to feel better sooner. This could add more infirmary time and having you feel miserable for longer than necessary.

As we brace ourselves for the winter that will inevitably be on us soon, we need to remember to find ways to keep moving to stay healthier during these times we spend more time indoors. If the bacteria and viruses find their way into your system, remember, it may be better for you to get a work out in if the sick feelings are in your head and above your neck. If on the other hand, those pesky germs made it below your neck, you’re experiencing a fever and body aches, it may be better to lay low to fight off your cold.

Michigan State University Extension’s Health and Nutrition Institute has many programs to help the public learn how to cope with chronic disease and living a healthy lifestyle. Experts from Michigan State University Extension make it possible to help with motivation to live the type of lifestyle most strive.

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