Sweat Often Workout Tips

Should You Exercise With a Cold?

By Cassie Piasecki

You’ve been kicking booty at the gym and are finally in the habit of daily exercise when ka-BOOM, you wake up with a sore throat and a stuffy nose.  

You feel deflated because you were finally starting to see the results of your hard work. You sit on the edge of your bed, holding a box of tissues, thinking to yourself, “Should I exercise with a cold?”

The docs will tell you that if your symptoms are above the neck like a sore throat and a stuffy nose, it’s okay to workout. If your symptoms are below the neck, like a fever, a cough, body aches or worse, the docs want you to stay home and chill.

As a Pilates Instructor who has had plenty of clients show up for class with a cold, I have some added advice.  

When you have a cold, it’s a sign that your body is trying to cleanse itself. It’s looking for rest and rehab vs. the rigors of your usual workout. Does that mean that you need to sit at home?  No way.  

My favorite ways to exercise with a cold:

  • Go outside for a heart-pumping walk or easy jog.
  • Do an online yoga class in your living room.
  • Bounce on your trampoline in the backyard.
  • Take your bike out for a spin.
  • Keep up your usual healthy eating habits and add more fluids to help flush the congestion from your nose.

These low-intensity workouts will allow you to exercise with a cold while you body’s trying to recover. Do you notice what else these types of workouts have in common? They involve NOT going to the gym, the indoor cycling studio or the barre class.

That’s right! While rehabbing your body, you’re keeping your germs to yourself. And because not everyone has good manners like you do, here are my top ways to avoid catching a cold in the first place:

  • Carry antibacterial wipes and wipe down the spin bike or other equipment before using it. I used to think that I looked crazy, but when my friends started to ask me for a wipe, I knew I was smart.
  • Drink tons of water and add some fresh, vitamin C-containing lemon slices to it now and then.
  • Take a probiotic daily.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep.  Make it a priority.
  • Meditate daily to quell your stress level.
  • Workout regularly!  When you exercise, your circulation and blood flow is increased.  This means that your immune system is also circulating and working at its peak.   

If you still feel like you’re dragging, and the above suggestions don’t feel right, it’s OK to give your body a few days off from all workouts. A short break won’t unravel all of your efforts.

You should feel empowered that you listened to your body and return to your usual plan with positive energy both mentally and physically when the time is right.


Cassie PiaseckiAbout Cassie: Cassie Piasecki, NLC is a Pilates Method Alliance, Certified Pilates Teacher, personal trainer, and Nutritious Life Certified Nutritionist based in Newport Beach, California. With over 24 years of experience, Cassie has taught fitness to over 10,000 people! She now connects with clients both in the studio and online via her website. Her favorite quote comes from Joseph Pilates, “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

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