For you as a dedicated runner, perhaps you pride yourself in being in excellent shape, physically and mentally. Thanks to daily, intense workouts, you have a great body and legs to boot, as well as a tough mind that can lead you to push yourself to any limit, for the sake of improving and becoming a stronger runner.
That said, you probably have just recently fallen sick: it started out with a sore throat before festering into a stuffy nose and a throbbing headache. You might be wondering just how you were able to have gotten sick, especially if you have done your very best to stay in good health. Still, despite the cold, you want to keep running, because you do not want to waste a day of it and get set back by the remedy.
However, the question is whether it is acceptable to go running with a sore throat, let alone with a stuffy nose and a congested head? Even more so, will it be safe to do so, or will it worsen your condition?
We are here to help! Read on to learn more in this article about running while sick, as we answer some of your frequently-asked questions. Soon enough, you will find out if it is fine to do so or not. Let’s get started!
Generally speaking, symptoms of a cold are sinus-related, with factors like a running or stuff nose, itchy eyes, a sore throat, and so forth. Other symptoms include coughing, headaches, sneezing, and overall the feeling of being unwell.
While it greatly varies depending on the circumstances, the most-common reason for catching a cold is the rhinovirus, of which enters through the mouth, nose, or eyes: it is often transmitted through airborne situations, such as being in close proximity to someone who is sick and is coughing or sneezing. Shaking hands, as well as physical contact, with those with a cold increases your chances of getting it, too.
Besides that, other factors based on the individual and the environment in which they live in can increase chances of getting sick. For instance, age plays a factor, for children and the elderly are the most susceptible to contracting the illness due to their weaker immune systems. In addition, smoking and exposure to a large public can heighten your chances of getting that sore throat. Finally, the time of year, often in the colder, darker months of fall and winter, can instigate the dreaded cold.
Although your doctor might have told you that it is better to stay at home and avoid running when you have the cold, sometimes you can actually still continue to run, depending on the severity of it. In fact, a bit of exercise can help clear up your sinuses and stop the sore throat, even if it is temporary.
That said, to what extent should you be not-so-sick in order to be fine for running? The general rule of thumb is to check if all of your symptoms are only concentrated in your head, i.e. above your neck, versus in your chest and elsewhere (below the neck). If it is just in the head, nose, and throat, then it should be acceptable to go out for a run: if not, then it is a good idea to remain at home until you feel better. After all, you would not want to risk getting worse when running!
At the same time, it is important that, even if you are able to run while sick, you should not be logging in super-long distances that you usually do when you are healthy. It helps to modify them for a shorter distance, so that you are not worsening your symptoms or otherwise feeling unwell while doing so.
The best and fool-proof way to curing yourself all comes down to time: although you might be impatient for it to go away, giving it time is the tried-and-true way of getting around to it. Then again, there are ways to speed up that time to recovery, and we list a few down here:
Although certainly not pleasant, taking these over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can alleviate the pain and coughing, at least temporarily. You will not have to worry about feeling as unwell as you were before, which can then shorten the recovery time.
Especially if you have a congested or stuffy nose, nasal sprays can be very helpful in clearing them up, again, even if it is temporary. The thing is, you will need to use them in moderation, since using them too much can actually cause the symptoms to worsen; hence, using them for no more than five days should do the trick.
Alternatively, you can take vitamins like zinc, Echinacea, and vitamin C. While studies have yet to fully prove that they do work to help with sickness, it is not a bad idea to try them out, since they occur naturally, anyway. If anything, they can be great resources to take to prevent the cold, as well as alleviate the symptoms. Therefore, having an orange or a zinc pill sound like a good strategy to do so!
Having a cold tires you out more easily, so it is not a bad thing should you need to take a mid-day nap to stave off the symptoms. Sleeping helps you recharge, as well as recover faster from the sickness than if you did not sleep. Otherwise, a solid night’s sleep should do wonders, too.
Depending on the situation at hand, you can most likely continue to run when you have a sore throat. At the same time, we encourage you to take it easy, as well as find remedies that will work for you to use for a speedier recovery. Soon enough, you can get back to your normal, healthy self!
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