should you exercise with a cold and cough

Research has shown that exercise can help to support our immune systems, potentially helping us to avoid colds, coughs and flu - or at least make them less severe - this winter.

You might have a runny nose or a persistent throat tickle, but if you feel quite healthy in other ways you’re probably ok to exercise.

Having a cold doesn’t necessarily mean your exercise regime needs to come to a standstill," says Dr Nitin Shori, medical director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service. “In fact, keeping active could even help with your recovery, give your immune system a boost and release natural painkilling endorphins.”

So if you feel well enough, a little exercise might actually do you good.

So if you feel OK, go for it? Actually, the advice is not quite as simple as that. Experts also say that you have to listen to what your body really wants, and sometimes accept that exercise might not be it.

“Be sensible, as it depends how severe your symptoms are and whether you feel up to it,” says Dr Shori. “If it’s just a sniffle and you’re ok in yourself, then a trip to the gym shouldn’t be ruled out. However, it’s best to give it a miss when you have a high temperature, as this is likely to exacerbate your condition.”

Rob Jones, a BACPR-qualified exercise instructor and Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) Level 3 personal trainer suggests there’s another way to tell if you’re fit for exercise.

“For cold or flu-like symptoms above the neck - for example a runny nose or stuffy sinuses - the rule of thumb is you can still perform light to moderate cardio exercise, just depending on how severe you find your symptoms,” he says.

“For cold or flu-like symptoms from the neck down - for example a sore throat and chesty cough - the rule of thumb is to sit it out and leave the exercise for another day.”