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Exercise during a cold or the flu

The winter months are just around the corner, the first snotty noses and dry throats are now a fact. Yet you are eager to train, even though you can hardly breathe normally. After all, it is not the intention that your divine body disappears like snow in the sun and certainly not because of an annoying runny nose or dry throat. But is training during a cold or flu really wise?

Take preventive action

Sport is healthy. What else is new? Regular exercise reduces the risk of catching a cold or the flu. Sport also promotes sleep and reduces stress, both of which have positive effects on your immunsystem. But what if it is already too late?

Cold and flu

You won't be the first to catch a cold. Think positive. It is a very common phenomenon. The cold virus is the culprit for the runny nose, dry throat and coughing. Often you first get complaints in the nasopharynx. This is because the cold virus often enters the body through the nose. Flu is also caused by a virus: the influenza virus. Fever, cough and paralysis are characteristic of the flu. The influenza virus is spread through the air or hands.

Immune system vs. viruses

When you are sick your immune system fights against these viruses, which requires a lot of energy. As a result, your body is weakened and it has little reserve left for a hardcore gym session.

Exercise anyway

If you decide to workout during the flu, this can backfire. In fact, exercising during this illness can be dangerous. In extreme cases, the virus can travel to your heart muscle, causing myocarditis. This is inflammation and can lead to heart failure or arrhythmia.

We strongly advise against exercising even during a fever. It is wise to wait until the elevated body temperature has dropped. You can't 'sweat out' flu or fever, this is a fable, so don't dare!

If you 'only' suffer from a cold, you can in theory just exercise. In practice, however, this will be less easy. Breathing is not optimal and also in this case you will have less energy than usual. The energy your body desperately needs to fight the viruses is not available for gym activities. So you actually train on an empty battery.

When in doubt

If you are unsure whether you can exercise, there is a handy way to check what is wise: the neck check. If you suffer from symptoms below your neck, it is wise to take a rest. Even during shortness of breath, rest is not an unnecessary luxury.

The best tip we can give is: listen to your body. Exercise when your body can handle it and not because your exercise schedule tells you to exercise. Rest is very important, especially during illness.