If you love to exercise chances are you also want to work out when you’re sick or when you’re just getting over a cold. It is true that working out can help you “sweat out” some of toxins that have left you feeling under the weather and can help your immune system stay strong. However, before you head out for that run in the cold temperatures of winter, you’d better check your symptoms to make sure your workout is safe.
If your illness has symptoms that are mainly in your head such as congestion in the nose or a sore throat you can work out if you’re feeling up to it. But a bad cough and chest congestion is another story altogether. Most chest colds are often actually Bronchitis, which occurs when the air tubes in the lungs become inflamed. For this reason, an outdoor workout in the cold can obviously be tricky and is not a good idea until the chest congestion clears up.
Running with a congested chest puts a terrible strain on the lungs and can worsen the condition, resulting in pneumonia. In the short term, very quickly during an outdoor run with chest congestion a runner will likely feel his chest tighten as the inflammation kicks up and mucus in produced in the lungs. This will likely make it harder to breathe and will result in a horrible and painful coughing spell. It’s best to wait out the infection instead of taking a risk and growing sicker.