Should I work out when I have a cold?

Usually when I have a cold all I want to do is snuggle under my blankets and enjoy some warm chicken noodle soup. But for a slight few, exercising on a strict schedule is a must, even if it means they are dragging them selves to the gym with a runny nose and a loud cough. So I wondered, is going to the gym when you have a cold safe, or should you just stay in bed and continue watching another episode on Netflix.

sick-woman-in-bed-with-a-coldpicture from here

One new study that the American College of Sports Medicine completed was about if working out with a cold would heighten the illness’ effects on the patient. A common perception made, is that working out and staying healthy will prevent you from becoming sick. Though this is true, not many studies have been made about when you are already sick and what going to the gym during that period of illness will do to your body.

One study by American Journal of Medicine hypothesized that moderate activity, like walking can strengthen your immune system. This was because it was thought that the number of white blood cells in your body would increase. So the trials studied women who walked 30 minutes everyday compared to women who didn’t walk 3o minutes a day. This study showed that the women who walked everyday had half as many cold then the women who did not walk everyday.

Another study was conducted at Ball State University. In this study, researchers measured the symptoms of common colds of people who do and do not workout. This study was conducted with 50 healthy college students, who had to exercise 40 minutes everyday. After this study was finished, researchers saw that working out does not effect the symptoms of the person’s cold, while there where no significant differences between the testing group and the control group. The immune system was not impacted by the strenuous activity.

So does this mean I can go out and run a marathon when I have a cold? Well, no not exactly. A big thing with this situation is moderation. While you have a cold, though you can workout and your symptoms will not increase, you should not push it. A light cardio session would be most ideal for your workout. Since working out increases the rate of your heart, working out while on cold medicine should not be done.





3 thoughts on “Should I work out when I have a cold?

  1. Gulianna E Garry

    This is a very interesting topic! I enjoy to go to the gym on a daily basis, but when I am sick I never think twice of actually going to the gym and working out. I never thought that going to a gym could actually benefit your cold. Maybe next time I get sick here at Penn State, I should head to the gym to feel a little better. Your post also reminded me of a saying I’ve always heard that when you are sad, working out can make you happier. I think it is so interesting how beneficial exercise can be in so many different ways! Here is a link talking about how exercise can make you a happier person.

  2. Francis Patrick Cotter

    One thing to factor in when deciding to go to the gym is the amount of germs that are in that gym. There is a reason that multiple hand sanitizers are dispersed throughout the gym. Germs are everywhere. An article by AOL ( revealed that there are 362 times more germs on the free weights than on a toilet seat. Other machines showed similar results.
    When your body is fighting a sickness, adding other bacteria and germs to it can be detrimental to your health.

  3. Annalise Marie Pilitowski

    This was a very interesting post. Whenever I am sick I feel the need to go to the gym and get a good cardio workout in. Something about sweating just makes me feel better. There is a saying that you should “sweat out” cold or sickness and I practice this when I am sick, and personally I feel better. However, I found this article that mentions how it is safe for people with colds to exercise, but it won’t actually make them better.

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