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I Have a Cold, is it Still Okay if I Work Out?

By Dr. Ye Li
Department of Family Practice

Some people just hate to miss a workout, even when they are feeling less than their best. So, is it all right to hit the gym or should you opt for a nap when you are suffering from a cold or similar illness? The best way to decide is to think of where your symptoms are located. Most experts agree that if your symptoms are above the neck, it’s typically okay to exercise. If they are below the neck, you should probably opt for rest instead of exercise. Use the following information to guide you:

Okay to exercise with:

  • Sore throat
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Ear ache

Exercise not recommended with:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness
  • Vomiting/queasy stomach

Keep in mind that going to the gym while sick could easily spread your illness to others. So even if you are set on working out, you may want to find an individualized way to exercise while you are sick, such as jogging around your neighborhood or lifting weights in your basement. If you do go to the gym while sick, be sure to wipe down the exercise equipment and use hand sanitizer to help protect others. Remember, even if you do have to skip a workout because of illness, the gym will still be there when you get back!

I Have a Cold, is it Still Okay if I Work Out?

About Ye Li, MD

Before attending medical school, Dr. Ye Li became interested in holistic medicine and studied acupuncture. Wanting to bridge Eastern and Western medicine, she decided to become a physician. Her goal is to provide preventive and comprehensive care for patients of all ages. While she is trained in Eastern medicine, she currently does not practice acupuncture at Reliant Medical Group.

Dr. Li enjoys serving entire families as it not only...

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