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Is it safe to exercise when you have a cold? And if so, which workouts are the healthiest choices?

We all the know the feeling: you’ve just managed to get into a solid exercise routine at the gym (excluding the dreaded stair stepper) and then BAM. Suddenly you’ve got a cold, your lips are chapped; your body aches; your nose is runny; and you’re tired (so very tired).

While it’s probably not a good idea to be going to the gym if you’re feeling poorly anyway (Coronavirus has at least taught us something), is it safe to continue doing home workouts? Or will that just prolong the illness, and force us to spend even more time away from our yoga mats?

GLAMOUR spoke to Elizabeth Rogers, Associate Clinical Director at Bupa Clinics, to find out if we really have to sacrifice our fitness goals – even if temporarily – to beat the bug. 

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Elizabeth describes a cold as a “viral infection of your nose and throat,” which you can catch “from droplets that spread through the air or through touching contaminated objects such as food utensils, toys and surfaces.” 

She adds, “Colds are very common and are usually harmless. Most people recover from a cold within a week to 10 days.”

What happens to your body when you have a cold?

According to Elizabeth, “When you have a cold, your immune system helps to fight off the infection. The cells in your body that are infected with the cold virus release chemicals known as cytokines (proteins that help fight infection), causing the blood vessels surrounding the infected cells to dilate, increasing the number of white blood cells – helping to fight the cold virus.

“As a result, you may experience many common symptoms of a cold such as; a blocked or runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, mild body aches and congestion in your ears and face.”

Is it ever a good idea to exercise when you have a cold? 

Elizabeth explains: “If you have a common cold, mild to moderate exercise (a brisk walk or yoga) can help to alleviate some of your symptoms by temporarily alleviating nasal congestion.

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