Training bei einer Erkältung?

Working out when you have a cold?

Cold season is in full swing, and as an athlete you're often faced with the question of whether you should continue your workout or take a break when you're feeling cold. This detailed blog article will provide you with all the information and advice you need to make informed decisions about training and exercise during a cold. We'll cover the effects of a cold on your body, how the disease progresses, how to properly exercise, and practical tips to protect your health and athletic performance.

Understanding the common cold

The common cold, also known as the flu, is a common viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is usually caused by rhinoviruses and can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Headache and body aches
  • fatigue
  • Slight increase in body temperature

In most cases, it is a mild illness that goes away after a few days to a week. However, the symptoms can be unpleasant and affect overall well-being.

How does a cold affect your body?

A cold causes your body to fight the virus and activate the inflammatory processes in the respiratory tract. This can cause a variety of symptoms including cough, runny nose and sore throat. However, the inflammatory response is part of the immune system that aims to fight and eliminate the virus.

During the cold, your body is also busy repairing and rebuilding damaged tissue, especially in the respiratory tract. This process requires energy and nutrients.

The course of a cold

The duration and severity of a cold can vary from person to person. In general, a cold goes through different phases:

1. Initial stage:

A sore throat and general malaise often occur in the first few days.

2. Main phase:

In this phase the symptoms are most pronounced. Cough, runny nose, headache and fatigue can dominate.

3. Recovery phase:

After about a week, symptoms will begin to subside and you will begin to feel better.

4. Aftermath:

Some people may experience a persistent cough or mild fatigue after a cold. This is usually temporary.

It's important to note that most colds go away on their own after a week. If symptoms last longer or are more severe, you should see a doctor.

Training and exercise when you have a cold: The golden rule

The question of whether you should exercise during a cold is best answered by the “throat rule.” This rule is: If your symptoms are limited to the throat and beyond (e.g. sore throat, runny nose), you can probably exercise at a light intensity. However, if your symptoms are below the neck (e.g. cough, fever, muscle aches), it is advisable to postpone training.

Training with upper respiratory symptoms:

If you choose to exercise with mild cold symptoms, consider the following advice:

  • Reduce intensity: Go lighter than usual. Avoid intense exercise that puts additional stress on your body.

  • Shorten the duration: Reduce the duration of your workout to avoid overtaxing your body.

  • Stay hydrated: Drink enough fluids to compensate for fluid loss through sweat.

  • Listen to your body: If you notice that you are feeling worse or symptoms are getting worse while exercising, stop exercising immediately.

Training with lower respiratory symptoms:

Exercising with symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or fever is risky and can lead to more serious health problems. In such cases, rest is the best option.

The effects of training on the immune system

Exercise can affect the immune system, and the response can vary from person to person. Moderate exercise can help strengthen the immune system and increase resistance to infections. However, intense exercise, especially when combined with lack of sleep and stress, can weaken the immune system and increase susceptibility to infections.

During a cold, the body needs energy to fight the virus and recover. Intense training can divert these limited resources and slow recovery. Therefore, it is important to listen to your body's needs and adjust your training accordingly.

Practical tips for training when you have a cold

If you decide to exercise with mild cold symptoms, here are some practical tips:

1. Outdoor training:

If possible, exercise in the fresh air as this reduces the risk of spreading viruses.

2. Avoid excessive exertion:

Stay in a moderate intensity range and avoid extreme training.

3. Pay attention to hygiene:

Clean your hands and equipment thoroughly to minimize the spread of viruses.

4. Rest and recovery:

Give your body enough time for rest and recovery to support recovery.

5. Listen to your body:

If you notice that you are feeling worse or symptoms are getting worse while exercising, stop exercising immediately.

The importance of prevention

The best strategy to avoid exercising during a cold is to take infection prevention measures. This includes:

1. Hand hygiene:

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water to prevent the spread of viruses.

2. Vaccinations:

Consider getting vaccinated against the flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases to boost your immune system.

3. Healthy diet:

A balanced diet with lots of vitamins and minerals can support your immune system.

4. Enough sleep:

Healthy sleep is crucial for a strong immune system.

5. Stress management:

Stress can weaken the immune system. Use relaxation techniques to reduce stress.


Deciding whether you should exercise during a cold depends on a variety of factors, including your symptoms, your fitness, and your personal well-being. Following the neck rule, adapting training to symptoms, and listening to your body are crucial. Your health should always come first.

Remember that rest and recovery are just as important to your body as the exercise itself. If you are unsure whether you should exercise, consult a doctor or sports medicine professional for sound advice. Your goal should be to help your body get over the cold and come back stronger without compromising your training or health.

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