Cold and sports - what do you need to know?

Is it allowed to do sports in case of a cold? Opinions differ on this question. Some say that sport helps against a cold, while others warn against health risks such as heart muscle inflammation when exercising in spite of the cold. We explain what you should consider when it comes to sports, when you have a cold and when you prefer to take a break from exercise.

Sport with a light cold

In general: If you have a cold you should take care. Nevertheless, a harmless cold without fever, cough or sore throat is initially no reason for a sports ban. In general, you can also do sports, if you have a cold easily - if you feel fit enough.

Anyone who has a cold sport, but should not burden too much and prefer to choose only a moderate exercise program. In addition, it is advisable to check in advance by a doctor, if there is an infection.

If you feel exhausted, you should rather do without sport. Listen to your body and treat yourself to a break if in doubt.

When better no sport?

If the cold goes beyond a cold, sport is taboo and bed rest is required. The immune system already has enough to do to fight the disease. In this situation, sport is just extra stress for the body and can overwhelm the immune system.

Sport can pose a health hazard in the following cases:

  • in fever
  • in a viral infection or bacterial inflammation
  • with flu or a strong flu infection
  • in sore throat, as these harbingers may be tonsillitis
  • while taking antibiotics or analgesic and antipyretic drugs

When in doubt, ask your doctor if sport is advisable in your case.

Risks of sports in case of cold

Anyone who does sports in a bacterial or viral infection with fever risks his health. Because the sports activity could cause the virus or bacteria to wander through the body and infect other organs to trigger an inflammation there. In the worst case, the pathogens reach the heart. Then threaten a life-threatening heart muscle inflammation (myocarditis).

Even with a light cold, it is important not to overdo the sport. Excessive effort quickly becomes a burden on the immune system and can lead to complications such as bronchitis, angina or pneumonia.

Does sports help against cold?

In healthy sports strengthens demonstrably the immune system. Often it is therefore assumed that sports are good for colds. Some even say that a cold can be "sweated out" through sport. However, experts strongly advise against strenuous exercise during a cold. For a sweat cure for cold sport is therefore just as unsuitable as a sauna. To sweat you should rather go to bed.

Even so, a little physical activity during a cold can help support the immune system. The movement circulates the entire body and thus, for example, the affected mucous membranes. However, it is a prerequisite that it is only a very cold cold without fever and that you feel fit enough to do sports.

Which sports are suitable for colds?

You should avoid the gym when you have a cold - not to catch anyone. If the weather is right, moderate harmless outdoor sports, such as walking or light jogging, are particularly suitable for a harmless cold.

If you do not feel completely fit, but still want to move, you can take a walk in the fresh air. Sun stimulates the production of vitamins and hormones and thus accelerates recovery.

Note temperatures and clothing

Even with a light cold you should avoid great efforts. These include not only strenuous sports, but also the external conditions: Extreme temperatures or too warm and too cold clothing burden the immune system. Be careful not to cool down and dress best on the onion principle.

Sports break after a cold

How long the break should last after a cold depends on the condition. In general, the heavier the infection, the longer the sports break. After a mild cold or a bit of a cold, you can resume training when the symptoms have disappeared and the disease is cured.

After a feverish infection, it is advisable not to do sports for at least one week. Even though the symptoms have been alleviated, for example by medication or sparing, the body may still be weakened by the decaying illness.

In any case, after a cold you should get back in slowly and start with a light endurance program. Over the course of several days, you can then leisurely increase. If you make too much again too soon, you can quickly relapse. Tachycardia at the slightest effort can then be a sign of heart muscle inflammation.

Children and pregnant women

For children, the same applies to cold as to adults: A slight cold is no reason to do without exercise as long as the child feels fit enough. If the illness goes beyond a small cold, a warm bed, lots of vitamins, and lots of drinking will help you get well soon.

During pregnancy endurance sports such as swimming or cycling is a good way to prevent a cold. If the cold comes anyway, pregnant women should abstain from doing sports better because otherwise the effort would strain the immune system too much. Short walks are fine as long as the outside temperatures are neither too high nor too low.

Cold risk after exercise

Sport does not always help a healthy body to prevent a cold. Sporting exercise can also promote a cold. For those who have sweaty during training in the warm sports hall, cold, especially in the cold season easily on the way back.

The reason is the so-called "open-window phenomenon": After intensive exercise, the body is particularly susceptible to pathogens. Therefore, you should protect yourself after the sport particularly well from cold, in order to prevent a cold.

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