Exercises for the Common Cold


If you’re feeling sick and under the weather, exercise is probably the last thing you feel like doing. In most cases it really is a good idea to rest; putting more pressure on an already stressed-out body is not a good idea. However, in some cases a little exercise can really help.


Having a cold can compromise your energy levels so it’s normal if you don’t feel like enduring intense physical fitness. Despite how you feel, a quick 20 minute walk can help you get the benefits of regular exercise and it may help relieve some cold symptoms. If your sinuses are clogged, briskly walking can stimulate deep breathing and clearer air passages. While it’s debatable if exercise can shorten the duration of a cold, studies have also shown that people who work out on a regular basis get sick less often.


If jogging is part of your normal routine, there’s really no reason to skip it just because you have a cold. One family practitioner says that all her patients who run already said that running generally makes them feel better when they’re sick. The same practitioner says that “running is a natural decongestant.” Since your body is already working much harder to fight the infection, it’s a smart idea to scale back the number of miles you usually run. Try a 2 mile jog instead of your usual 5.


Your body releases the stress hormone cortisol when it has to fight an infection like the common cold; some research suggests that stress-relieving activities, such as yoga, may help strengthen your immunity. Gentle stretching may also help relieve the aches and pains associated with colds and sinus infections. Choose slower, less vigorous types of yoga like Hatha or Iyengar, especially if you’re worried about overstretching or tiring yourself out.


Zumba or cardio dance classes, or even dancing around at home, can be fantastic stress relievers. One study found that those who listened to 50 minutes of dance music during the day had less cortisol hormone and more antibodies, a definite positive for their immune systems. Dance classes tend to be low impact, so you can exercise just enough without putting too much stress on your aching joints.


Make sure to consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for all health related advice.

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