When you have a regular workout programme, such as running, you usually don’t want to disrupt it. But what if you’re feeling under the weather and have a cough? It’s sometimes okay to run with a cough, and sometimes it’s best not to.
When running with a cough is OK
The Mayo Clinic’s basic recommendation for exercise and sickness includes the “above the neck/below the neck” judgement criteria:
Above the neck. If your symptoms are completely above the neck, exercise is typically safe. This includes nasal congestion, a runny nose, sneezing, and a dry cough on occasion.
Below the neck. If your symptoms are below the neck, stop jogging and other forms of activity. This includes symptoms such as diarrhoea, chest congestion, and a hacking or productive cough.
Even if your symptoms are above the neck, try reducing the duration and intensity of your workout. A leisurely jog or stroll may be more acceptable than trying to accomplish a time or distance goal based on how you felt at the time.
Coughs of various types
Pay great attention to your cough while deciding if it’s “above the neck” or “below the neck.”
A dry cough produces no mucus or phlegm. Airway irritants are usually to blame. A dry cough is often referred to as a nonproductive cough. If you have an occasional dry cough, you should be OK to go for a run.
A productive cough causes you to cough out mucus or phlegm. If you have a productive cough that interferes with your breathing, especially if your heart rate is high, you should postpone your run until it improves.
What if the cough doesn’t go away?
A cough is considered acute if it lasts for three weeks or less. A persistent cough is defined as one that lasts more than eight weeks. Acute coughs are commonly caused by the following factors:
- flu (influenza)
- common cold
- inhalation of irritant
Common causes of chronic coughs include:
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- post nasal drip
Will taking break harm my fitness?
You may be concerned that taking a few days off from exercising may result in a decrease in performance. Serious runners may be concerned about their VO2 max – the greatest quantity of oxygen they can transfer and utilise during heavy activity.
According to a 1993 report published in the American Physiological Society, well-trained athletes see just a little decrease in VO2 max during the first 10 days of inactivity.
Every individual and every running circumstance is distinct. As a result, the choice to run with a cough should be made on an individual basis. If you decide to run after assessing symptoms such as the sort of cough you have, try reducing your distance and intensity.
Regular exercise is part of a health regimen that helps to create and maintain a healthy body. Allow your body to lead you. Illness symptoms and indicators might be your body’s method of alerting you that something is wrong. Consider taking a few days off from activity if you experience widespread muscular pains, exhaustion, or a fever. Consult your doctor if the symptoms continue.