Running and the Common Cold… Should I?

by Gina Shell

Regular exercise may be the way to prevent oneself from getting a cold. Moderate activity is all you need. We can help boost our own immune system by improving our overall fitness. Runners have only half as many upper respiratory infections as the general population. If you have a strong training base and you get a cold, a week off won’t be that much of a setback to your training.

Should I exercise when I have a cold? Listen to your body. Physical activity increases your heart rate, but so do certain cold medicines. IF you try to mix exercise and decongestants you could become short of breath or have trouble breathing. If your cold turns into a fever, you should wait to get back into your regular exercise program. Also, when battling that pesky cold, don’t exercise too hard as this energy expenditure will slow your recovery time. Cutting your training a bit during a cold can be beneficial in the long run. You always increase the chance of an injury during a weakened condition.

If you decide to exercise with a cold, call a doctor if you notice that your chest is more congested or you are starting to cough and wheeze. You should stop all activity if you notice: chest tightness, trouble breathing (shortness of breath), lightheadedness/dizziness, or problems with balance.

Now with winter months ahead of us, this time of year is a great time to join the YMCA. We have an indoor pool, exercise classes, basketball courts, treadmills, steppers, and free weights to name just a few! If you do decide to continue your workouts outside do be careful, and watch for the snow and ice. Always run with someone in the winter months
(or at least let someone know where you will be running) in case of a slip and fall. Bundle up and be safe.

Happy Running!

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