Should you run with a cold?

March 18, 2013

If you are an avid runner, it is likely that you don't want a little cold to spoil your workout routine. With all the different remedies available, and conflicting advice from your peers, it's difficult to know where to draw the line. Not surprisingly, whether or not you should run with a cold is a question that's still being debated among physicians.

According to Active.com, the simple answer to this controversial question is no. This advice is mostly due to the fact that you may risk having to take off more days from your exercise routine in the long run if you exacerbate your cold.

However, Dr. David Nieman, an avid marathoner and head of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, says he abides by the "neck rule" when determining if he should take time off from running, Runner's World reported.

If you plan to abide by the "neck rule," take a few days off from your running routine if you have symptoms below the neck, such as a chest cold or body ache. If your symptoms are occurring above the neck, such as a stuffy or running nose, then continuing to pursue your workout routine shouldn't cause any problems.

Other experts, such as Dr. Bill Schaffner, chairman of the Department of Preventative Medicine at Vanderbilt University, are staunch advocates of exercising with a cold.

"I think exercise pushes me along a route to recovery," Schaffner told The New York Times. "Of course, I recognize that I might have been on a route to recovery anyway, but I can't think of a reason why exercise would affect you adversely."

Overall, experts generally agree that runners should proceed with caution when exercising with anything more severe than a minor cold to avoid the risk of it evolving into something more serious.

If you do plan to exercise with a cold, make sure that you are not running in an environment that is too warm. If you normally run outdoors, you may want to consider switching your routine and jogging on a home fitness treadmill until you have fully recovered.

TRUE Fitness treadmills come equipped with a wireless heart rate monitoring system so you can easily maintain your optimal heart rate throughout your workout – just be sure that you listen to your body and don't overdo it.