Now that the cold and flu season is here many of us may question whether it is safe or not to train while sick.
Studies have shown that regular moderate intensity exercise actually improves the body’s immune response to respiratory viral infections, but training while you have the flu can be very dangerous to your health.
This is because viral infections, such as the flu, can cause temporary muscle weakness that extends to the muscle cells in your heart – and a heart weakened by a viral infection can be further weakened by strenuous exercise.
But remember, a cold is not the flu!
The common cold is inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include a runny nose and sore throat, but no fever or body aches and pains. If you have symptoms of a cold, doing mild to moderate exercise (a brisk walk or slow jog) is not harmful to one’s health.
If you have flu-like symptoms – fever, extreme tiredness, muscle aches, or swollen glands – it’s best not to exercise at all until you’ve seen your doctor. If they confirm you have an acute illness like the flu, then resting until you are completely recovered is the only way to get fighting fit without too much delay.