I am suffering from a cold right now. I didn't want to break my workout routine, so, I continued to exercise.

But during my session, I was not that energetic. Also, I have read on the internet that working out with a cold does not allow the body enough time to recover.

So, I want to know if it's OK to work out with a cold as my energy itself was low. And, is it true that the body doesn't get enough time to recover?

  • I'm not sure anyone can answer that for you since it's difficult to know your symptoms. And, any advice given to you would surely be specific to who's ever providing the answer.
    – rrirower
    Jun 7, 2016 at 17:25
  • I have a book at home that has references to a study on this, but if I recall correctly, only heavy exercise (like running a marathon) was contraindicated with a cold, at least for the purpose of recovery. Mild to moderate exercise led to improved recovery results as well as preventing exercisers from backsliding.
    – Sean Duggan
    Jun 7, 2016 at 20:05
  • 1
    Note: If you are training away from others then that is fine. Do not bring a snotty nose or cough into a public/chain gym environment. The humidity and touching of shared equipment is a great incubator for spreading it. If you clearly are ill in a public gym, expect people to tell you to go home.
    – John
    Jun 8, 2016 at 13:34
  • Common advice from cycling coaches is if the cold symptoms are above the neck, go ahead and train with light/moderate intensity. If they are below the neck take the day off. I don't see why this wouldn't apply to other sports too.
    – Andy P
    Jun 8, 2016 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


If depends on your regular exercise routine. If you only do light exercise then it's not a problem to skip exercising for a week or longer. People who do heavy exercise almost every day may experience problems. Heavy exercise burns a lot of energy (1000 Kcal in my case), it is burden on the body that has become part of the regular routine. You are used to eating and sleep while exercising this hard. If you suddenly withdraw the exercise part of this routine then the eating and sleeping part may suffer. If you are very ill, then that illness will force you to do this, you may not be able to eat much due to the illness and the need for sleep will increase anyway, so in that case there isn't an issue.

The problem is when you are only a bit ill, like the cold you are suffering from. Then withdrawing the exercise part completely may overcompensate things, after a few days you may not have a good appetite and not sleep well. This may then feed back on your recovery of the cold, as not sleeping well and eating less well won't help. Obviously it's no good to become unwell during exercise either, so taking things easy during exercise is the best option.

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