Exercise and Colds: What’s Enough?

This week, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a piece about how exercise helps with preventing colds and can assist with getting through one quicker. Yet, sources in the article are careful to mention that only a certain amount of exercise – about 30 to 60 minutes, a few times per week – is necessary for increasing T-cells and improving your immune system.

blog-drinkingWhile it’s true moderate exercise bolsters your immune system by supporting white blood cell growth, which in turn assists with fighting infections, it’s not a cure-all, and should be approached carefully:

Listen to Your Body

Exercise is said to get you through a cold faster, but only under certain conditions: Engage in physical activity if the respiratory infection is above the shoulders, and if you’re not suffering from a fever. As well, be mindful of these points:

  • Limit activity when you’re taking decongestants, as these increase your heart rate. Exercise and decongestants together may lead to shortness of breath and breathing troubles.
  • If you’re dealing with asthma and a cold, you could find yourself wheezing more or being short of breath.
  • Exercising while recovering from a fever could stress out your body more, lengthening healing time.
  • If you exercise too much and wear your body out, recovery from a cold may take longer, as your white blood cell count may have gone down.
  • Stop if you feel tightness or pressure in your chest, have trouble breathing, feel light-headed or dizzy, or can’t maintain balance.

What You Can Do – And What You Should Avoid

Certain exercises benefit the body more than others. These tend toward moderate, less strenuous cardiovascular activities:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Yoga
  • Dance
  • Some cycling
  • Swimming

For activities that might place too much strain on your body, steer clear of long-distance running, lifting weights, and anything that involves going outdoors in the cold.

As well, to keep others healthy, it’s best that you avoid using gym equipment and playing team sports until the cold has passed.

Whether you’re looking to take a yoga class or want to find a jogging track, the facilities at North Haven Health & Racquet have plenty of options. Come by to see all we have to offer.