Running with a Cold? Yes or No?

by Lovie

Should I still run when I have a cold (not flu)?

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Lovie,
Thanks for your question about running while having a cold.

Opinions vary between exercise physiologists, doctors etc. Some say that when you do not have a flu or flu-like symptoms but just a cold there is no harm in a bit of exercise. With just a cold I mean running nose, maybe a bit of a cough, some sneezing etc. Nothing worse. So no higher temperature, no muscle aches etc.

However, that changes when you do have a fever. When you have a fever your body temperature is already elevated. You should then definitely avoid bringing up the temperature even farther by running.

There have actually been a few studies about the affect a cold has on your ability to exercise. People were infected with a "rhinovirus", a virus responsible for a large number of the colds that go the circles.

The test subjects were tested before they had a cold and when they had a cold. There were no adverse effects of the colds on their lung capacity and their breathing levels. They did feel more tired after running when they had the cold.

Another study done studied the effect running with a cold has on the time it takes to recover.
It turned out that the time to recover was not longer when people had colds.

So, research done to date suggests that if you have minor colds, e.g. runny nose, coughing etc. you are all okay.

In my personal opinion, it is not the moment though to build up your running. Just try to keep your running training where it is at that moment. Same type of mileage, possibly a little less, and same type of intensity until you feel better.

And as soon as you have more serious symptoms, e.g. fever, issues below the neck like muscle pains, chest pains, chest congestion etc you should skip your running regime for a day or two until you feel a bit better.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck.
Kind regards,

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