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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Cardio ‘Cat: Training through illness

Risa Johnson
Risa Johnson

It’s that time of year again, when the voices of professors are drowned out by our coughs, sniffles and sneezes. We try our best to make it to school, but where should we draw the line between working out and staying home?

To each their own, but I don’t like missing consecutive days of the gym, so I sought to find out what kind of symptoms are OK to ignore and which aren’t.

Go to the gym if: 

You have a minor cold, with symptoms like runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat, according to an article on Reducing the intensity of your workout might be a good idea.

It’s not OK to work out if:

If you have a fever, are coughing or are suffering from chest congestion, upset stomach, fatigue or all-over muscle pain, according to

You may want to continue working out with a light cold if you want to improve your symptoms and continue building on your exercise regime.

The best workouts while ill include: walking, jogging, yoga and dance, according to Dr. Richard Besser in the article “Best and worst exercises to do when you have a cold” by Amanda MacMillan.

The worst exercises include endurance running, gym machines, lifting weights, team sports and anything outdoors in the cold.

Swimming and biking can be the best or worst exercises for sick people, depending on their symptoms and normal routine.

A study by Tom Weidner at Ball State University proved that exercising with minor colds didn’t affect the length or severity of their colds. An article on described an experiment Weidner conducted to determine whether exercise affected minor colds. He gave  two groups the common cold and had one group exercise every day for a week while the other group did nothing.

“The two groups didn’t differ in the length or severity of their colds,” Weidner said.

He also found in another study that having colds didn’t compromise athletes’ performance. Being as active as in their routine work outs was beneficial for them, fitness-wise and psychologically.

Next time I get my seasonal cold, I know I should stay away from the gym when I have a cough, but I will continue to not let the sniffles get in my way of training.


Risa Johnson can be reached at or @risapisa on Twitter

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