Q. I've heard conflicting information on exercising with a cold. Some people swear that if you work out it will help break your fever and you can get well faster. But I've also heard that you should rest when you have a cold. Which is true?
The common cold is characterized by a sore throat, stuffy head, runny nose, sneezing, cough, headache and fever. The decision to exercise or not while fighting the common cold is a personal decision, but before you proceed, do a "neck check." If your symptoms are all located "above the neck" then you can exercise at a reduced intensity.
On the other hand, if your "neck check" reveals symptoms "below the neck" like muscle aches, chills, diarrhea, vomiting or a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I recommend that you skip your workouts until your "below the neck" symptoms subside.
While there is no medical evidence that exercising during a common cold will speed up your recovery time, it may make you feel more energized than sitting it out on the couch. Also, exercise may temporarily clear a stuffed-up head when you have a cold.
Finally, use your own common sense when deciding to exercise during a bout of the common cold. If you are feeling down right rotten, a few days of rest and relaxation may be just what the doctor has ordered.