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Exercising Sick Or Cold – You Have To Know That

Running with a runny nose or swinging dumbbells with your head hot – what you have to pay attention to so that your immune system does not have a cold reaction to training.It’s corrosive to have this feeling wrapped in cotton wool, even though you wanted to take rugged gear while exercising today. What you should do best in this case and how well an (emerging) cold goes with your training, you can find out here.

What Is A Cold?

“Cold is the layman’s term for a flu-like infection,” explains sports medicine specialist Dr. Lutz Graumann from Rosenheim . “The immune system is paralyzed by external pathogens – usually viruses.” Classic symptoms are fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, headache and body aches, high temperature or fever, and cough. Incidentally, there are no more viruses and other pathogens buzzing around in winter than at different times of the year. This is how you distinguish a cold from influenza and Covid-19.

The cold and damp that stress the immune system, making it more susceptible to hostile takeovers. There is also a flu wave in summer, when heat, direct sunlight, and too little fluid take over the in-knee kennel job. And the more the immune system weakens, the wider the entry gate for pathogens opens. In some cases, however, there are also malicious variants that can switch off the immune system independently. “If I’m not used to the pathogens, the immune system can react with inflammation values,” says Graumann. Say: You get sick.

Does Exercise Make Sense If You Have A Cold?

If you earn a lot of money with sport, get started in consultation with the team doctor and coach. If not: “If you don’t have to, you should reduce your training program if you don’t feel good. Fresh air and UV radiation are good, the latter helps to form vitamin D, which supports the immune system,” says the expert.

Going for a walk, a leisurely trot, or cycling are just the thing if you notice that a cold is looming. “Exposing yourself to a real training stimulus, on the other hand, makes less sense. This also weakens the immune system, after all, the strong stimulus causes inflammation in the body,” explains the sports doctor.

The result: Your organism capitulates because of all the construction sites, and you lie flat. “A cold is rarely better through sport. On the contrary, sport slows down the body’s self-healing powers.” So you can get rid of your cold quickly.

What Should I Watch Out For When Exercising With A Cold?

Don’t have too much to do with yourself. “If you have a cold or a cough, you can go jogging at a relaxed pace. Be careful not to lose too much fluid and not to shift your pH values,” emphasizes the team doctor for the junior ice hockey team. The nose is continuously supplied with blood and thus warmed up, which faster end cold viruses.

If, on the other hand, you are planning a cold strength training in the studio, firstly you should not set a new weight record and secondly, if possible, disinfect your hands after each exercise. “There are germs everywhere on studio equipment, if you are already ailing, they have an easy time,” warns Graumann. You have to pay attention to this in the studio during the corona pandemic.

Usually, your immune system laughs at these germs, but when you get down, the fun stops. Of course, you could also do some dumbbells at home, but the same applies here: Real training stimuli increase the likelihood of getting sick. This is how you train your muscles during the lockdown. Keep your feet and dumbbells still from the start for all other cold symptoms.


Can I Exercise While Taking Antibiotics?

It is an old wives’ tale that antibiotics are synonymous with a ban on sports. Some drugs work with low-dose exercise too. Ask your doctor or pharmacist – in a traditional way – whether this is the case with your medication. It still makes sense not to do any sport for the first few days most of the time.

The antibiotic must first build up a practical level so that the bacteria can be combated at all. “An antibiotic is metabolized and broken down by the liver and kidneys. If we put additional strain on ourselves, the liver also has to work harder and the effect of the drug is worse,” explains the sports doctor. In other words: the more the metabolism gets going, the worse it is for the active substance level of an antibiotic.

What Are The Consequences Of Doing Sports While Sick? Is That Dangerous?

Not at first. “As a rule, viruses are responsible for a flu-like effect, which the body will get under control at some point. But only if it can bundle its forces for it. If the immune system is paralyzed, however, there is a risk that bacteria will settle on top of it.” the expert explains. These are then streptococci that are transmitted from others through the skin or via droplets. With the result that the tongue is covered and the tonsils become purulent, the cold intensifies and, in the worst case, leads to antibiotics being taken.

However, the consequences of exercise with a cold are often cited as the worst-case scenario – the inflammation of the heart muscle and pericardium caused by viruses – are relatively rare. If so, then it occurs in the top-class sport when infections are delayed. So listen to yourself whether you are fit enough for a training session. “In the case of very intense flu-like effects, the pericardium can also be affected. If you continue training, you damage your entire organism,” says Graumann.

Can The Training Itself Be Responsible For Colds, Coughs, Etc.?

In fact, after a challenging workout, you are more prone to catching a cold. The reason is the so-called open window. “How long this phase lasts varies greatly from person to person. For example, after an interval session, it can take hours until the balance is restored in the body, the fluid and the pH value have been rebalanced and the immune system is back up,” so Graumann.

Providing a training stimulus ultimately means destroying cells, and as long as the body is busy rebuilding, the doors are wide open to pathogens. You can reduce the entry lane by paying attention to a few things: Wearing functional clothing during training, drinking, and sleeping sufficiently. The more you get down to business, the more you have to sleep.

Carbohydrates, eaten right after training, help to close the open window faster. They help to restore physical balance. Very important: Pay attention to the temperature regulation. “Wet hair in itself does not make you sick, but cools the body down steadily, which pathogens also find inviting,” says the sports doctor. These are the ten best home remedies for a cold.

Can I Train Away From A Cold?

“Being able to sweat out a cold is a myth and total nonsense!” Emphasizes Graumann. As already mentioned, a sweaty load invites the pathogens to make themselves comfortable. The same applies to a visit to the sauna – if you go in battered, you come back even battered. Especially since a sauna area is a sensational place for germs and their great multiplication. Please do not get it wrong: “If you are feeling well, a visit to the sauna has many positive effects, one of which is to strengthen the immune system,” says the expert.

How Do I Decide Whether I Can Do Sports Despite Being Sick?

“The best indicator is the resting heart rate. If I have caught an infection, it goes up between 7 and 10 beats,” explains Graumann. And so the decision was already made in the morning that you will not do any sport today. In order not to have to put your finger on the wrist, in the light sensor of your mobile phone or the heart rate monitor as the first official act of the day, you, as an ambitious athlete, could also stick a measuring strip on the bed. Sleep sensors then show you with a glance at your smartphone what your resting heart rate looks like.

If you feel feverish and the thermometer confirms a value above 37.5 degrees, the training clothes also stay in the closet. “Fever is a systemic inflammatory value. The whole body tries to destroy the germs by regulating its own temperature, so it cannot use any further stress,” said the expert. Aching limbs can also indicate that you may or may not have a fever. Nevertheless, if you are not feeling well, take a rest!

If you are on the mend, the suppository test shows whether you are fit enough for sporting action again. To do this, you stand in front of a mirror and say AAAAHHHHHH out loud. “If the uvula is longer or larger than usual, you can see vessels and if the throat is red and swollen, you still need to take a break,” recommends Graumann. And don’t let that drive you crazy. According to the sports doctor, anyone who listens to their body awareness of what is and what is not is seldom wrong.

When And How Long Do I Have To Take A Break From Exercising If I Have A Cold?

As soon as the throat turns red, the lymph nodes swell, and ear pain becomes noticeable, you can skip your training. The organism is already in a state of alarm. If there is a high temperature or even a fever, the body cannot tell you that it needs a break. Please don’t think about taking medication to get started. “Throwing in painkillers is like putting tape over a lamp that lights up red in a car instead of driving to the workshop,” says Graumann. “If the body tells me it is in trouble, then there is a reason for it.” This is how dangerous pain pills are for athletes.

So it’s better to rest for 3 to 4 days, take vitamin C and zinc, and drink a lot. Incidentally, Graumann’s insider tip is to drink plenty of hot caipirinhas, even without alcohol. It is crucial that the hydration hydrates the skin, stimulates the detoxification function via the kidneys, and the warmth has a positive effect on the viscosity of the mucus. “The secondary plant substances and essential oils in lime – most of them are in the peel, so it’s best to take organic limes and pound them nicely with a pestle – have an anti-inflammatory and expectorant effect, and also promote blood circulation.”

“If you want, you can sweeten it with honey. It also contains anti-inflammatory substances,” advises the sports doctor. For the sake of completeness, it should be said: cane sugar does not provide them. How long your camping break will last vary from person to person and depends on the degree of the disease. You should generally feel much better subjectively, and your throat should pass the uvula check (see above). Then you get back into training with a light workload and increase in small steps.

If you have a slight runny nose and a little cough, moderate loads are allowed. But as soon as the symptoms increase and even a fever occur, a sports break is called for. It lasts until you feel better again. Until then, it means: wait and see and drink caipirinha!


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