Running with a Cold Is Safe? Exercise, such as running, can help protect you from the common cold. It helps to increase your immune system and reduce your levels of stress hormones.
If you have a cold, you want to continue your running routine, especially if you are training for a run or want to work towards a fitness goal.
If you want to know if it is safe to continue running when you have a cold, then this article has answers.
If you have a cold, you may experience a variety of symptoms that last about 7 to 10 days. These symptoms may include:
There are many factors to consider before working on getting sick. This includes the severity of your symptoms, as well as the intensity of your workouts.
Here are some general recommendations for running when it is cold.
When you can run
If your cold is mild and you do not have much congestion, it is usually safe to work outside.
A good rule of thumb is to consider the location of your symptoms. When your symptoms are located above your neck, you may be able to exercise safely.
But it is still a simple idea that makes it easy. This will help your immune system fight the cold because you remain physically active.
You can dial your running routine below:
- Reduce your run length and intensity
- Jogging instead
- Brisk walking instead of running
When it’s not best to run
Avoid running if you have more severe symptoms. This includes fever and symptoms below your neck, such as:
These symptoms may indicate a more serious disease.
Exercising with these types of symptoms can increase your recovery time or worsen your illness. Also, if you have a fever, running may increase your risk of dehydration or heat-related illness.
If you have more severe symptoms it is best to stay home and rest. If you need to do a workout, opt for gentle stretching.
Although it is generally safe to walk with mild cold, there are some potential risks.
This may include:
These side effects depend on the severity of your symptoms. Additionally, if you walk at your normal intensity, you are more likely to experience side effects.
If you have a chronic condition, such as asthma or heart disease, talk to your doctor first. Running with a cold can aggravate your current condition.
Running is not the only way to stay active. If you have a cold, try other types of exercise.
Safe options include:
Avoid activities that require high levels of physical exertion.
As your cold symptoms subside, you can begin to return to your normal walking routine. For many people, cold symptoms will begin to improve after 7 days.
Slowly resume exercise. Start slowly and work your way until you return to your normal running routine. This will help ensure that your body has enough time and energy to recover fully.
While there is no cure for a cold, there are steps that can help you manage your symptoms and heal your body.
Try these home remedies to help reduce your cold symptoms:
- Drink more fluids. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, juice, tea or clear broth. Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol, which may contribute to dehydration.
- Choose hot liquids. Congestion can be relieved by tea, hot lemonade and soup.
- rest. Get plenty of sleep and try to relax.
- Gargle with salt water. If you have a sore throat, gargle with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.
- Use a humidifier. A humidifier can help reduce congestion by increasing the humidity in the air.
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicine. OTC medications can help reduce cough, congestion, sore throat and headaches. Ask your doctor for recommendations, and be sure to follow the instructions.
Cold and seasonal allergies share many symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion and sneezing. As a result, it can be difficult to tell which one you are experiencing.
If your allergy is working, you will also have the possibility:
- An itchy nose
- Itchy or red eyes
- Swelling around the eyes
The main difference between allergies and the common cold is itchy eyes. A cold rarely causes this symptom.
Another difference is cough, which is usually caused by a cold rather than an allergy. The one exception is if you have allergic asthma, which can cause coughing.
Generally, it is okay to walk with allergies. But depending on the severity of your allergy, you may need to take additional steps to walk safely and comfortably.
Here’s what you can do:
- Check the pollen count. Run outward when the pollen count is low. Pollen levels are generally lower in the morning.
- Avoid dry and windy weather. It is best to run outside after it rains, reducing the pollen in the air.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses. These items protect your hair and eyes from pollen.
- Take allergy medicine. Ask your doctor for a recommendation. If the drug causes drowsiness, you may have to take it at night.
- Bring your rescue inhaler. If you have allergic asthma, your doctor may suggest bringing an inhaler during your run.
- Run indoors. Consider running on an indoor track or treadmill, especially during the pollen season.
If you are concerned about walking with allergies, talk to your primary care physician or allergy specialist.
It is usually safe to walk with a mild cold, especially if the symptoms are above your neck. However, listening to your body is also important. Instead of doing your normal walking routine, you may want to try a less vigorous activity like jogging or brisk walking.
If you have more severe symptoms, such as fever, cough, or chest tightness, it is best to avoid running. Excess on your body can prolong your symptoms.
By relaxing, you can help your body fight infection. This will allow you to return to your normal routine sooner rather than later.