Should you “sweat out” a cold at hot yoga to recover quicker?
It’s a dilemma we often have around this time of year. You’re feeling a bit blah and like you’re coming down with something or you’re in the thick of a cold and you’re wondering whether exercise is going to make it worse or better. Should you just go to a hot yoga class and “sweat it out?”
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Like anything, it will depend on the person and exactly how you’re feeling. While I am not a medical expert, here is what I have found from my various research.
According to experts, you can safely exercise when the symptoms are from the neck up. So, if you have a sore throat, headache, running nose, etc. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.
Exercise is not recommended if the symptoms are from the neck down; so fever, muscular aches, pains or check infections and chesty colds. When you have these flu symptoms, attempting to "sweat it out" may actually lead your symptoms to become worse. Too much sweat can dehydrate you at a time when you actually need extra fluids to loosen congestion. Dehydration can also dry your respiratory tract, worsening a stuffy nose or scratchy throat.
US Studies have found no difference in symptoms between people who exercised throughout the duration of their cold (every second day) and those who didn’t exercise at all.
However, it's best to treat it as a case by case basis. Listen to your body and listen to what it needs. There is no harm in taking a few days break from exercise. Moving or exercise might make you feel better, but be kind to yourself and think about reducing the intensity. Take a chill flow or Yin class rather than an athletic flow class. If you’re feeling low in energy during your practice, always remember that child's pose is an option for you. If you have taken a break from exercise during a cold, don’t forget to always ease back into it.
If you do take a hot yoga class when you're unwell, its best to take your own yoga mat. Studio rental yoga mats (especially at heated studios) are highly riddled with germs. Best not to spread the love or get prolong your sickness with someone else's germs.
Need a new yoga mat? Yellow Willow yoga mats are non-slip on the top and the underside. They are made as a yoga mat and yoga towel in one, absorbing any sweat. After class, just wipe down your yoga mat with a cloth and natural cleaning spray so its fresh (and germ-free) for your next practice. Remember, you can always pop your Yellow Willow yoga mat in the washing machine for a wash as well. We recommend you do this every few months.
Yellow Willow Yoga mats are eco-friendly and non-slip for any type of yoga or Pilates