Running is one of the most common and easiest ways to exercise – with no equipment and no gym membership, you can go for a run or jog anywhere. Moreover, running is an extremely healthy activity – not only do you burn a lot of calories but you also produce endorphins that make you feel good.
This is why numerous people find running addictive because the more you run the more endorphins you produce. Some people are so addicted to this lifestyle that nothing can stop them, may it be an injury or sickness.
This brings us to the question: Should you run with a cold?
The right answer would be NO – when you catch a viral infection, your body needs all of your energy so that your immune system can fight off the infection. For that, it is important to conserve your energy as much as possible which means you need ample rest.
If you go for a run during this time your body would have to use up that energy for exercise rather than for recovery. However, if you cannot control the urge to go out for a run or even a brisk walk, consider the following things before.
Check your symptoms
The best way to determine whether you should go for a run is to check your symptoms.
The ‘above-the-neck-check’ is a great way to do this: checking for symptoms and whether they lie above the neck or below. If your symptoms are above the neck that means you can go for a run.
These symptoms include:
- Nasal congestion
- Stuffy nose
- Irritated nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
Below the neck-check
If your symptoms lie below the neck then you should probably skip the run and rest. These symptoms are usually more serious than a simple cold and exerting yourself would slow down the recovery process.
Additionally, going for a run with these symptoms will only make you feel worse.
Symptoms below the neck include:
- Chest congestion
- Body or muscle aches
However, just because your symptoms lie above your neck doesn’t mean you go out for a full-blown run. You still need to pace yourself and keep your workout minimal so you don’t use up all of your energy.
A few tips that you could follow are:
- No interval training as this uses up more energy
- Lower the intensity of your running going for a jog instead of a run
- No sprint racing
- Steer clear of groups – running in a group may cause you to get competitive and
- Keep the running distance short
- Dress and wrap up warm (especially in the winters)
How to prevent colds when running
Contrary to what most people think – running when it’s cold outside or when it’s raining is not the reason you catch the flu. The reason you get flu is that you are exposed to the virus carrying the infection.
Runners are unlikely to catch a virus because of the high level of endorphins. However, these tips can help you avoid a cold completely:
- Drink lots of fluids throughout your run
- Keep a healthy diet
- Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer with you during your runs
- Keep a well-balanced sleep cycle