Does Exercising Help Make a Cold Go Away?

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If you have a cold, the last thing you probably want to do is get out of bed to work out. Nevertheless, light exercise could actually help you recover from your cold a little faster. If you think your illness might be more than a cold, though, you should talk to a doctor before engaging in exercise..

Consider Your Symptoms

  • Before exercising with a cold, take a look at your symptoms. If they're all above the neck -- a runny nose, headache and itchy throat, for example -- it could be OK for you to work out. However, if you're experiencing below the neck symptoms such as a stomachache, cough or tightness in your chest, take some time off to recover. Don't go to the gym with a fever.

Light To Moderate Exercise

  • Light to moderate exercise such as brisk walking isn't harmful if you have a cold, and it could even be beneficial. Because exercise raises your heart rate and quickens your breathing, your body will experience an increase in oxygen and blood flow. This can help you strengthen your immune system and heal faster. Additionally, faster breathing can clear congestion.

Strenuous Exercise

  • On the other hand, high intensity exercise can be harmful if you're already feeling sick. For example, you shouldn't run, cycle or swim laps. Vigorous exercise could actually hurt your immune system and make you even sicker in the end. Therefore, you shouldn't exercise as hard or as much as you do when you're healthy. Shoot for a workout at about 50 percent intensity instead.

Listen To Your Body

  • If you only have above the neck symptoms but feel so terrible you can hardly roll out of bed, you shouldn't push it. If, for example, you're experiencing a severe headache, it might be better for you to take the day off. Your body is trying to tell you that it needs some rest. Rest is, after all, one of the best things you can do when you have a cold.

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