Exercising With a Cold — Should You Bother?

can you exercise with a cold

When you're feeling under the weather you may feel like hibernating under an inordinate amount of blankets (which is completely understandable) however, on the other hand, you may be asking 'can you exercise with a cold?'. 

It can be disheartening to have to stop your usual workout routine for the sake of not exercising with a cold. Luckily, you don't have to!

We will start by looking at...

Exercising and Fluid Intake

It is always necessary, whether you have a cold or not, to keep hydrated when exercising, however, it is even more important to drink a lot of water when you are feeling under the weather. 

So, how much water should you be drinking?

Nutritionists and personal trainers suggest ingesting a big glass two hours before you begin your workout and then an average cup 10-20 minutes before getting to the gym. They also advise sipping water throughout your exercise time to ensure maximum hydration.

Is It Possible to Sweat Out a Cold?

You may be wondering, can you sweat out a cold? The short answer is no. 

Sweating out a cold is a myth that has come about since sweating provides temporary relief from some of the symptoms associated with the common cold. However, it is important to note that heating your body up does not decrease the length of time you are under the weather for. 

can you sweat out a cold

Exercises to Try When Feeling Under The Weather

While exercise is, on average, fine to do when you have a cold, you need to use the 'neck rule' to ensure it is safe.

What is the neck rule? Basically, if all your symptoms are found above your neck — runny nose, sneezing, headache, a bit of a sore throat — then exercising will not cause you more damage. 

But, do not exercise with a chest infection, fever, upset stomach or anything else that is below the neck; it will only cause you more harm than good!

It may be that you are a huge fitness fanatic so your workouts regularly consist of fairly high-intensity movements but, when you are a bit on the offside, you might want to lessen this and shorten the time you spend exercising. 

So, what exercises should you do?


Participating in a 20-minute walk can give you the same benefits of your usual regular exercise routine.

If it's your nose that is causing you the most problems, going for walk will help to open up your sinuses as you will need to take deep breaths to keep up the pace. 


People who regularly run have stated that jogging when they have a head cold helps them to feel somewhat better. But, it is not best to start your jogging journey while you are sick. 

Remember: do not try running with a sore throat or any symptoms that, as we said before, are below the neck.

exercising with a cold

Qi Gong

If you fancy moving but you don't feel like going anywhere near breaking a sweat then this mixture of martial arts and meditation will work wonders for you. 

The movements included in this exercise type have been proven to improve circulation, decrease stress and anxiety levels and heighten your energy.


You don't have to attend a dance class to do this type of workout. Simply turn on your favourite music and get jiggy! It is up to you what movements you do, of course, but dancing is a pretty low-impact sport so you will not put too much pressure on your joints.

Take it at your own pace and remember not to push yourself too much while you are under the weather.


As we are sure you know, yoga is a fantastic stress-relieving exercise. Aside from this fact, doing a bit of yoga while you have a cold can not only boost your immune system and fight symptoms of your sickness, but it can also stretch out any muscle aches. 

Judging When You Should Rest

Knowing yourself is paramount to realising when you should take a break and rest up. 

Listen to what your insides are trying to tell you — feeling worse or miserable? Stop immediately and chill out. It might be that you are ready to get 'back in the saddle' the very next day but, you may need to take a few days off before you can get back into it. 

Now that we have busted the 'can you exercise with a cold' age-old question, you will be able to go forth and workout to the best of your ability while you are feeling a bit poorly.

Just don't push yourself too much, otherwise, you will risk giving yourself further damage and prolonging your cold far longer than it would be had you taken a rest.