If you pride yourself on never missing a day of exercise, then it must be frustrating to have your streak interrupted by a bout of cough.
As a testament to your discipline, you might be inclined to continue with your routine despite being sick, but this isn’t always a good idea.
Some experts say that exercise should be an absolute no-go when it comes to any kind of cough, but others aren’t quite as rigid in their stance, saying that if the cough is mild enough, it’s okay to get some fitness time in.
How do you decide which way to go?
Considerations for Working Out With a Cough
If you refuse to have your daily workout waylaid by a cough, here are four steps to determine whether to push forward with exercise or not:
1. Use your good sense
If you’re dealing with a little tickle in your throat, then it’s probably okay to proceed.
2. Consider the other symptoms
If you’re manifesting issues in other areas, go with the “Neck Check”.
- Symptoms occurring above the neck, such as a runny nose, mild sore throat, or nasal congestion, are typically not enough reason to skip exercise. A fever-free episode of common cold can actually be helped by light to moderate physical activity, which might allow you to feel better by opening up your nasal passages and relieving your stuffy nose.
- Symptoms occurring below the neck, such as chest congestion, bronchial tightness, or an upset stomach, require you to take a complete break from exercising.
3. Check your temperature
Exercise is definitely out of the question if you have a fever. Working out will further raise your already high temperature, which will then make you even sicker.
4. Gauge your body
You might not be showing other obvious signs of illness besides a mild cough, but if you also feel fatigued, then it’s a good idea to just sit exercise out until you’re feeling more energetic.
Extra Step, Plus Warning: Check with your doctor. If you’ve been sick and are now simply dealing with a lingering mild cough, it’s best to get the official go-ahead before you resume exercise.
If your cough worsens or you start feeling ill at any point during exercise, immediately discontinue.
Precautions for Exercising With a Cough
If you’ve decided to continue working out despite your cough, keep in mind the following pointers to safeguard you from aggravating your condition and other unpleasant possibilities.
1. Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout.
Your body is already showing signs of a weakened state, so now is not the time to be tough on it. Keep things low-impact.
You can still benefit from the usual perks of exercise, such as weight maintenance and stress control, even with a lighter routine. For instance, instead of running for 30 minutes, you can simply walk for 15 minutes.
2. Keep yourself hydrated.
Remember to have a bottle of water handy so you can drink as you go. It would also help in case you’re suffering from some dry cough discomfort.
3. Put emphasis on the mind-body connection.
Yoga and Pilates are good options for when you’re a little under the weather. They help you build up your strength while also allowing you to relax.
4. Control the spread of germs.
If you’re coughing, it’s recommended that you contain your germs, so it’s better for you to work out at home or in wide open spaces.
On the other hand, if you have no other option but to exercise in a public gym, then find a machine away from people. Also, it’s always a good idea to disinfect the equipment you choose before and after use. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers work for this purpose.
Taking a Break Vs. Powering Through
If you’re not well, a few days off shouldn’t derail your workout results. In fact, taking it easy while taking the right chesty cough medicine might just be what your body needs to get back to a hundred percent state faster. If you want to do something for your physical well-being, meditating with mindfulness exercises can help more than you may expect, and you can do that without getting out of your bed.