It depends on your symptoms. If they are confined to the neck and the area above the neck, then moderate fitness routines -- such as walking -- are perfectly fine, says David C. Nieman, a doctor of public health and a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). But hold off on high-intensity workouts, like running, until your sniffles or sore throat clear up, he advises.
If you have a fever, bad cough, fatigue, or aches and pains, don’t try to sweat them out. “Bed rest and a gradual progression to normal training are recommended,” says Nieman.
When you’re healthy again, remember this: Regular moderate exercise (30 to 60 minutes most days of the week) boosts the immune system, reducing sick days during cold season by at least 40 percent, according to the ACSM. However, prolonged, intense workouts can weaken your natural disease-fighting abilities and make it easier for viruses to attack, says Nieman.
Finally, if you like to exercise outdoors even when it’s cool, don’t be afraid of getting sick: Drafty or cold weather does not raise your chances of getting a cold. On the contrary, what it’s more likely to do is keep people together indoors, where they can more easily transmit viruses.Expert Q&A Archive
Kim Schworm Acosta is a health journalist and writer, and a frequent contributor to Oral Care and Health Daily.