Do This When You Have a Cold

Autumn is upon us, and winter will be here before we know it. With the change in seasons comes cold, flu and Covid season, which means we’ll all probably experience symptoms at some point. Whether it’s a runny nose, scratchy throat or an upset stomach, even the effects of a common cold are enough to make you feel really unwell. Although warm drinks and plenty of rest will help ease seasonal illnesses, there is more you can do to actually fight them off.

Although it’s tempting to hide away indoors when you have a cold, according to experts low to moderate exercise like walking, swimming or cycling won’t just make you feel better mentally, it will also benefit you physically. When you’re bunged up and struggling to breathe through your nose, exercises like these encourage the infection-fighting white blood cells that accumulate in your lungs to get moving. Stimulating them helps them to circulate better in the blood, allowing them to head where they need to go to help ward off infection.

Forms of moderate exercise like these are also an excellent nasal decongestants. When we have a cold, our noses are often the first things to get blocked. When we move our bodies however, we temporarily increase the carbon dioxide levels in our blood, which in turn opens the nasal passages. Increased blood flow caused by strength training also helps clear out congestion in the sinuses and lungs, which can help reduce sinus pressure and ease blockages.

Despite all the benefits, it is important not to overdo it. Anything too intense or that requires lots of endurance and stamina such as marathon training, is best left until you’ve completely recovered as it could further weaken your immune system. And experts all agree that moderate exercise should only be attempted if your symptoms are not felt below the neck. In other words, not if you have chest pains or difficulty breathing easily. If that’s the case, sit all forms of exercise out until you feel much better and seek medical advice.