Regular exercise is a healthy choice for most people—and a great way to shake off winter gloom. But when common winter illnesses hit, sometimes the healthiest choice is to stay home and rest. Here are some basic tips to help exercisers know when to grab their shoes and when to head back to bed.
DO the neck check. If all of your symptoms are above your neck, such as a stuffy nose or mild headache, then it's probably fine to exercise, according to Thomas Weidner, professor of athletic training at Ball State University, in an interview with the New York Times. Multiple studies have shown that exercise does not worsen cold symptoms or lengthen the cold.
DON'T hit the gym if you have any symptoms below the neck, including hacking coughs, nausea, upset stomach, fatigue or body aches. Stay home instead and rest.
DO take it easy. According to health.com, strongly consider minimizing the intensity if you're used to high-impact workouts. A 20-minute walk is a good choice if you're under the weather, and it could alleviate your cold symptoms.
DON'T power through a fever or worsening symptoms. You should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before you exercise again. If you feel worse during your workouts, then recognize that as a sign from your body that you need to rest.