Can i exercise even if i have a cold?

Although the throat is easily scratched or the headache spreads, many people do not feel overly affected by the typical cold symptoms. But should you abstain from sports, even if you have mild symptoms, or can you keep exercising? In fact, it always depends on the severity of the symptoms and the general state of health. Depending on the conditions, we will give you the right recommendation.

What Happens in the Body When You Have Cold Symptoms?

When a cold develops, the upper respiratory tract and mucous membranes of the nose, throat, and pharynx are usually infected with the cold virus. The immune system sounds the alarm and fights pathogens. This weakens the body, which is why many feel weak and tired. If the immune system does not fight the pathogens, the common cold breaks out, which usually lasts seven to ten days. If the immune system is busy fighting pathogens, the body stresses itself with additional sport. During sports, the body’s reserves are used up, the muscles and heart work harder, and the blood pressure and pulse increase. However, sport is not always the same and a cold can be divided into mild to severe. Ultimately, it always depends on the current state.

Work out when you have a cold

Exercising during a mild cold isn’t a problem for most people. If only your throat is a little scratchy or your nose is a little runny, you can put on your sports shoes. To be on the safe side, however, do not go high or over while exercising, as this can already overload the body.


  • If you train outdoors, dress warm, especially in autumn and winter, to avoid cold.
  • If you are active in a sports group or gym, pay attention to sufficient hygiene. This matters above all thorough hand washing and the use of disinfectants and towels.
  • Beverage enough during the training session so that the mucous membranes remain moist and pathogens do not spread further.
  • Take a shower immediately after your workout and wear warm, dry clothes.
  • Eat nutritious foods after exercise: Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins to the body, proteins support the immune system, carbohydrates replenish energy stores, and fats help both the absorption of nutrients and the immune system.

Do not do it

  • Avoid high intensity interval training and training in the anaerobic heart rate range (intensive and maximum heart rate range).

Interesting: After exercise, the immune system weakens for a few hours or two days. In order not to get sick, try to avoid bacterial and viral sources after exercise, for example on public transport.

Avoid exercise if you have these symptoms

If you have any signs of a cold, you should refrain from exercising. These include, among others:

  • Fever
  • severe sore throat and headache
  • severe cough and runny nose
  • earache
  • fatigue and laziness
  • Inflammation of the sinuses

A fever in particular can be a sign of a flu-like infection. If you play sports now, there is a risk of viruses and bacteria spreading to organs such as the kidneys, liver or heart. The risk of a secondary infection is now particularly high, in which, for example, the heart muscle becomes infected with bacteria and myocarditis develops. This can lead to serious complications and even be life threatening. You can also postpone the cold so that recovery lasts much longer.
If you are taking medications for the common cold, you should also abstain from exercise, as it only relieves symptoms while the body is still battling pathogens.

When can I resume training after a cold?

At best, start slowly and only when you haven’t had to take medication for at least two days. Start with a low load so your heart rate doesn’t immediately increase. If you train hard, you risk weakening your immune system again, causing the cold to return. If you have had the flu, it is best to take a week off until the last symptoms are gone.