Every year, almost like clockwork, I get the change of weather cold. I call it the change of weather cold because it usually takes happens the first part of Oct. Where I live that is when it usually starts to get cool, a little rainy and really starts to feel like fall.

Exercise and the Common Cold
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image by Ana Omelete

This year I really thought I was going to get lucky and miss it. First, we have had very unusual weather. Summer was very mild and it was cool most of August and September so there wasn’t a big shift in the weather. Second, my husband had it first and I was good for a week before it hit me.

I could blame my husband, since I was fine till he brought it home. However I don’t think that’s fair since this habit predates him. Like I said I was good for a week. Last Sunday we visited his parents. I was having a great time playing kickball and Wii tennis with our nephew. Feeling fine all the way home,  I sat down to plan out my  schedule for the week and, whammo, my throat started to burn.

The next morning my throat was still on fire and my nose was running like crazy. I had the change of weather cold, or as you may call it a cold. Then the internal argument begins. Am I okay to go to the gym or even workout at home?

I think it is a question most people who exercise regularly have to answer at some point or another. When I make my decision it comes down to a few key things:

  • Will I infect others? If there is any indication I could spread my woes I stay away from the gym. After a few days when the risk subsides and I do go back, I am extra vigilant about wiping down my equipment.
  • What are my symptoms? The rule of thumb I have always been given is to ask yourself, are you’re your symptoms just above neck. If it is just a sore throat, a runny nose or congestion you are probably okay for a light workout.  However if you have all over aches and a fever you need to let your body rest. 
  • How do I really feel? If I am wiped out then I need to listen to my body and rest. If I just sniffle, then I can probably make it through some sort of a workout.  Listen to how weak and tired your body is to make the final determination.

I am feeling much better as I write this. I took a few days off to let my body recover, then by day 4 I was back for some light cardio. I miss working out when I am sick, but I know it’s the best for me, my body and my fellow gym goers. Do what’s right and don’t be afraid to take a break.

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