It’s that time of year when runny noses and constant sniffling will both be on the rise. With winter around the corner, it means it’s also the cold season. Whether your cases and symptoms are mild or severe, baring the common cold is no walk in the park. Recovering from this dreadful, yet minor, ailment can take a few days before all symptoms subside, but is there a way to enhance recovery time by sweating out a cold? More specifically, is there any science behind exercising to speed up recovery time from the common cold? Taking a look at this topic in depth might just shock you!
Does Exercise Help?
We all know that exercising daily is a great way to keep your body healthy and running efficiently throughout the course of your life, but is exercising when you’re feeling under the weather a good thing?
When you exercise your body releases hormones and one of the key hormones released is that of endorphins. Although not a technical “cure” to the common cold, the release of the said hormone has been known to help trigger positivity within the body, even when the mind is in a dreadful or depressed state. One of the last things you probably feel like doing when you’ve got a cough or a runny nose is throwing on your gym shoes and clothes and hitting the treadmill or weights. Your body does need rest, yes, but achieving this endorphin high, the body is then told: “you feel great!” An example of this would be what’s called the “runner’s high” when accomplishing a big run and knowing you’ve put in your all or the feeling of a good pump after a heavyweight session after you’ve given your all.
If nothing else, going for a quick run helps take your mind off of being sick. So many times people feel sicker than they actually because that’s what their mind tells them. Grab your headphones and running shoes and break a sweat for 30-60 minutes and you’ll forget all about your cold symptoms. While there are no direct medical links to working out causing you to get over the common cold quicker than normal, things that you can do to improve bodily recovery include hydration, rest and making sure your body is getting enough vitamins and minerals to cure the virus.
Can Trying To Sweat It Out Be Bad?
Sitting in a hot sauna, a hot tub or even just trying to work out some extra layers to “sweat out” a cold is not a great idea. Although you will sweat, and probably more than normal, your body will be a lot more likely to suffer from dehydration. This is due to the water and nutrients in your body already working hard to get rid of the virus itself and now it has to worry about keeping your core body temperature steady without allowing you to have fever-like symptoms.
A few of the many side effects from coming down with a cold are body aches and fever chills. Although there are certain medical professionals that will suggest taking a hot bath, hot shower or even sitting in the sauna for a few minutes can help rid the body of toxins that are bound up from the virus, it’s best to consult your physician on whether this is right for you.
The main problem we run into as individuals are trying to over-do it. Taking an excessive amount of vitamin C supplements, pounding nothing but sports drinks and eating twice as much as your needed caloric intake are just a few to name them. The common cold has no cure other than rest, recovery and supplementing your body with the right nutrition to get rid of the virus as quickly as possible. So some rest from the gym or treadmill and getting extra fluids might do your body a lot more good than you trying to push your body through an intense run or workout (depending on the severity of your symptoms).
Take Home Message
So what’s the verdict then?
Contrary to popular belief, sweating out a cold simply just doesn’t add up from a scientific standpoint. There is no medical evidence or studies that have been done to show exercising in any way will help rid you of the common cold any quicker than sufficient rest and recovery. If you’re lurking about with a slight fever, runny nose and body aches, the best thing you can do is to curl up on the couch and get some extra rest, make sure you get enough clean calories to support your body fighting off the cold virus and then go for a light run or lift to ease your mind of any outside stress you have incurred.
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