Exercising when you have a cold is a tricky subject. Especially when you feel just a little ill, you run the risk of procrastinating on a cold. In the worst case, there is even a risk of heart muscle inflammation. But is exercise taboo even if you just have a cold? Find answers here.

You want to go running, but your nose is also running? If you have a cold in the early stages, you can still feel quite fit despite a cough, runny nose and slight headache. So it’s understandable that some people don’t want to do without their sports program or jogging.

Exercise keeps you fit, strengthens your immune system and gets your circulation going. Sport could therefore be a good remedy for the oncoming cold, right?

Cough, runny nose, sore throat – a cold is unpleasant, but in most cases it is a harmless illness that affects many people. On average, we catch a cold four times a year.

If you get caught, you should still leave your training shoes in the closet for a while and first recover properly. Especially when the symptoms are accompanied by an elevated temperature.

Slightly elevated temperature: symptoms and what you should know about them

Because that means that the body is struggling with the infection and you shouldn’t put additional strain on it with sport. The immune system can no longer take effective action against the pathogens, which can have fatal consequences.

The problem with this is that when there is an infection, stress hormones are released that put a strain on the immune system. Sport also means stress for the body, which then has a double effect on the organism. “Both of these cause stress hormones to be released. These in turn suppress the immune responses that the body needs to fight viruses or bacteria,” warns Dr. Axel Preßler, Senior Physician at the Center for Preventive and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. This entails the following three problems:

In the worst case, exercising when you have a cold can lead to heart muscle inflammation. The symptoms are usually not clear. In most cases, those affected feel listless and tired, and reduced performance is also noticeable. Even with small efforts, breathing becomes difficult and you are left breathless, so to speak.

It is also possible that you will not notice any symptoms at all with heart muscle inflammation. This is particularly dangerous, because untreated myocarditis can lead to cardiac insufficiency or cardiac arrhythmia, which can sometimes be fatal.

So don’t let it get that far in the first place. Sport should definitely be taboo when you have a cold.

Health – No sport with a virus: prevent heart muscle inflammation

You should not return to exercise until you feel healthy and fit. If you feel unsure, you can follow these three rules of thumb:

exercise is healthy. But does it also prevent a cold? Researchers at the Appalachian State University in North Carolina (USA) also asked themselves this question. In order to investigate the risk of catching a cold depending on the sporting activity, they observed a total of 1000 people between the ages of 18 and 85 for four months.

The results showed that those who exercised five or more days a week caught a cold half as often as those who were less active. The subjects had to move and sweat for at least 20 minutes per training session. Endurance sports such as jogging, cycling, swimming or walking have proven to be particularly effective.

Running in autumn and winter – How to stay healthy and motivated when jogging and cold temperatures

Nevertheless, there are a few things to keep in mind when training, especially if you exercise in wintry conditions. Above all, it is important that you feel healthy and fit – only then does the sports unit also act as an immune booster.

Sports outfit based on the onion principle

Cold temperatures tempt you to wrap up nice and warm. With too many layers, however, we quickly start to sweat and cool down. So a cold is practically inevitable. It is better to pay attention to breathable sports clothing and to put them on according to the layering principle. In case of doubt, something can be put down again quickly.

Warm up properly

A proper warm-up is particularly important to get your circulation going and prepare your muscles for training. In winter, the warm-up phase should take longer than in summer. Since this takes place in colder temperatures, more time must be invested – preferably ten to 15 minutes.

Drink enough

Even if you don’t feel thirsty in winter, it is at least as important to drink enough as in summer. It is even best to drink more than in summer temperatures. How so? In the colder months, the air is drier, which means that more moisture is removed from the body.