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Sport with a cold: when does it become dangerous?

You're in the middle of training and highly motivated - and then you get sick. On average, Germans catch a cold 1 to 3 times a year. So what do you do: continue training with a cold or stay at home in bed? Find out everything you need to know about sport and colds in today's blog post.

The immune system in full swing

Every infection is a stress response for the body. The white blood cells (leukocytes) recognise pathogens such as viruses and bacteria as foreign to the body and then produce defence cells and antibodies directed against certain substances. Higher temperatures are a better condition for the defence cells, defence reactions can take place more quickly, which is why our body often reacts with fever. We speak of fever from a temperature of 38.2 °C (measured rectally). Orally already from 37.8 °C. The normal body temperature is between 36.5 and 37.4 °C. From 37.5 °C, we speak of an elevated temperature.

What symptoms can I exercise for?

If you have a mild cold, moderate sporting activities are generally not a problem - provided you feel fit enough. If you are exhausted and tired, you should give yourself the rest you need. Gentle endurance sports such as walking or jogging are particularly suitable, preferably in the fresh air. Light exercise can even have a positive effect, as the mucous membranes are better supplied with blood. However, you should reduce the usual workload so as not to overload the body. Extreme endurance and weight training should be avoided.

A Forsa survey commissioned by Techniker Krankenkasse shows, however, that one in three athletes aged 18 to 25 continues to train despite having a cold. 60 per cent of them would even resort to medication to continue training. Only half of the test subjects took a break.

What symptoms should I avoid exercising for?

If you have a cold and other symptoms such as cough, sore throat, high temperature or even fever, you should leave your trainers in the cupboard. This also applies if you are taking antibiotics. This is because the body is fighting an infection and additional exercise would put even more strain on the immune system, as the body is exposed to two stress factors at the same time. As a result, the cold is "dragged on" and recovery takes longer. The symptoms can also worsen and in the worst case scenario, lead to myocarditis.

Inflammation of the heart muscle (medical term: myocarditis) is primarily caused by viruses, less frequently by bacteria, toxic substances or medication. The disease can be chronic or acute. However, it is often not recognised as the symptoms are quite unspecific. Those affected usually suffer from fatigue, reduced performance and shortness of breath or chest pain. It can therefore be particularly dangerous during peak sporting performance. If left untreated, it leads to cardiac insufficiency and cardiac arrhythmia, in the worst case to heart failure. In most cases, however, myocarditis heals without causing any damage.

When can I start training again?

This of course depends first and foremost on your own physical condition. As a general rule, if you have a mild cold, you can start exercising once the symptoms have completely disappeared. If you have an infection with a fever, you should wait an additional week. If in doubt, ask your doctor for advice. After a cold, you should always take it easy and not overstrain your body. Slowly increase your pace over several days/weeks until you have reached your usual level.

Preventing a cold

To make sure it doesn't get that far and you're out of action for several weeks afterwards, here are a few tips to help you prevent a cold. It is important that you wash your hands regularly and ventilate several times a day. You should also drink at least 1.5 litres of water or unsweetened tea every day (even during a cold, of course).

Our nutritional supplements strengthen your immune system during the cold and wet season. Vitamin D3 Depot, Immune Essentials and Vegan Essentials provide your body with important nutrients that are essential for a well-functioning immune system. Some of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals they contain keep you fit and healthy.

For healthy people: sport protects you from catching a cold!

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