Exercising with a Cold

This weekend was spent hunkered down in my bed fighting off a cold. With teas, oranges, salads and low-sodium chicken soup, I have been giving it my all to kick this bug before it takes hold.

Being laid up with a cold has made me think about how sickness can quickly lead to weight gain if you’re not careful. Unless you have the stomach flu, most people are able to eat just fine when they are sick, in fact there are colloquialisms that encourage eating such as “Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever”. And it is true that eating a healthy diet can really help your body to fight and recover from colds and flus, but if you are trying to lose weight it is really important that you avoid most comfort foods that are typically high in carbohydrates.

Exercise can help to alleviate cold symptoms and improve your body's health.

Exercise can help to alleviate cold symptoms and improve your body's health.

Although having a cold or flu may not impact your diet all that much, it is likely to really affect your exercise program. A feeling of low energy combined with congestion and other cold or flu symptoms can keep you away from exercising for many days. Not only will this negatively affect your weight loss efforts, but it may also drastically lower your motivation for exercising, which can last for much longer than your cold or flu. So, for these reasons it is important that you get back up on the exercise horse as soon as your energy levels permit.

Many doctors agree that “sweating out a cold” with exercise can be good for the body and may give you short-term relief from some symptoms, including congestion. A study that was conducted with a number of test patients also found that there is no difference either on lung function or exercise capacity in people with colds. This means that it is not only safe to exercise when you are under-the-weather, but you can push yourself physically.

One of the biggest benefits of exercising with a cold is the release of epinephrine (adrenaline), which naturally occurs during physical activity. Epinephrine is actually an ingredient in many drugs used to treat colds and by exercising you are getting a shot of this drug naturally. Epinephrine, a common ingredient in oral decongestants, reduces swelling and stuffiness in the nose.

So if you think that having a cold is a good excuse for being sedentary, think again. If you have some energy then get yourself up and exercising and you will likely begin to feel better soon. For those of you who are trying to lose weight, but catch a winter bug, try to keep your diet on track as best as possible and avoid skipping out on your exercise routine for too many days in a row.


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1 comment to Exercising with a Cold

  • Lose Weight Gain

    More and more people are looking into ways of losing weight. What a great post, some great tips there to increase your metabolism. Thanks so much for this information!

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