Does Exercise Make a Cold Worse?

Does Exercise Make a Cold Worse?

Are you like me and wonder if exercise makes a cold better or worse? Intensive exercise boosts production of cortisol; a stress hormone. Stress hormones inhibit the activity of natural killer cells. This is why running a marathon can actually increase your chances of getting sick shortly thereafter. In fact, elite endurance athletes can suffer anywhere from two to six times as many upper respiratory infections during a year, compared to average, active individuals.

According to an article in Sports Science Exchange, athletes are advised to avoid exercise if cold symptoms are “below the neck,” or if they’re running a fever. So-called “head colds” seem to be less serious in general. I think the same recommendation would be prudent for most people.

Dr Mercola says , “I believe that if you have enough energy to tolerate it, increasing your body temperature by sweating from exercise will help to kill many viruses. However you need to be very careful and listen to your body, and not do your full, normal exercise routine, as that could clearly stress your immune system even more and prolong your illness if you are not careful and wind up overdoing it.”

This information was adapted from Dr Mercola’s article titled “Got a Cold? Here’s a Trick to Feel Better Fast”

Dr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site,