Light aerobic exercise during a common cold

Would love some of your experiences with training while having a cold. Also any links to studies/articles would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance

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don’t train if you’re sick below the throat (is the general advice)


Seconded. And err on the side of waiting a little longer. If you don’t, you might really not completely heal and stay sort-of-sick for much longer.


In my younger days I always trained through colds… because I thought I’d lose fitness. It never ended well. All I did was extend the recovery time and instead of a few days out it was a few weeks until I was back to full strength. Would have been better off taking a few days off from training, sleeping 12+ hours and hydrating. But that’s me.


Its sometimes good to sweat a bug out but if its anywhere near your throat you are better resting.

My protocol is full rest. When recovered take one more day off then back into it full blast.

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Training with a cold can work well, until it suddenly doesn’t.

Personally I rest until i feel well enough to train and monitor resting heart rate and exercise heart rate and keep it easy until they are normalized.

A slight viral infection is still a viral infection and you can get long term effects. As far as I know, there is no way of knowing a priori wether you get ill effects or not. And therefore I err on the side of caution.

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I’d just be careful, I expect the above / below throat thing is just based in folk law more than science

A few years ago, I start cycling after a cold, and my heart rate was really high all the time, took some time off and then boom, chest pains and in hospital A&E, three months off the bike thinking I had angina with light riding allowed, after the tests it the thoughts we that I had Pericarditis and was allowed to go back to nowmal, the original cold was always above the throat

Every exercise is robbing your body energy it could use to fight the infection.

I’m speaking from experience here, i. e. on several occasions I have been stupid and impatient in the past and started training too early. Don’t be as stupid as I was. I know, it really sucks to have to take a two-week training break sometimes, you can feel your horses leaving your barn, but you gotta give your body time to heal.


I tend to go on my resting heart rate - often with a cold it doesn’t really change, so for those I do pettit or recess. Now the recess variants have a warmup, you can do the 30 minute and extend or bail.

I wanted to add, I use RHR as my guide as when I’m “better”. Often it can be elevated a few days delayed after I feel ok.

I recently trained through a cold. It turned to sinus infection and ended up on antibiotics. Idk if it had anything to do with the exercising. The doctor who wrote me the script said it had nothing to do with training and training doesn’t make it any worse. If you can deal with the discomfort then go ahead.
I found regular riding no problem but at the height of the sinus pressure some vo2 work really sucked.

I have had the same advice, but I wouldn’t be convinced the GP I got it from meant Spanish Needle or Mary Austin when they say train through!