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 basic tips to help exercisers know when to grab their shoes and when to head back to bed.
DO: the neck check. If your symptoms are all above your neck, such as a stuffy nose or mild headache, it’s probably fine to exercise, said 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 illnesses.
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 get some rest.
DO: take it easy. According to health.com, it might be a good idea to scale back the intensity if you’re used to high-impact workouts. A 20-minute walk is good choice if you’re a little under the weather, and may 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 consider working out again, and if you ever start to feel worse during your workouts, consider that a sign from your body that it’s time to rest.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should see a doctor if your winter cold doesn't improve, worsens, or if you develop new symptoms.