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There may be some truth to the old saw that sweating it out" can help cure a cold or cough. When you break a sweat in jogging or any other cardiovascular activity, your body temperature goes up. This may help flush out any infection that may be exacerbating the cough. Researchers disagree about the veracity of this claim, but urge caution in deciding whether or not to work out when you have a cough.
Location of Symptoms
The conventional wisdom -- backed by Dr. Edward R. Laskowski writing for Mayoclinic.com -- is that light to moderate exercise is OK if your symptoms are above your neck. So, if your cough is coming from a head cold or sinus infection, then a brief jog is probably OK if you feel up to it. But if the cough is related to symptoms below your neck, exercise will not help -- and could even be dangerous. This means that coughing related to bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other illnesses that affect your lungs rules out jogging and other kinds of exercise.
The Heart Rate Test
Another way to determine whether or not it's OK to jog with your particular cough is to calculate your resting heart rate. This is only helpful if you're in the habit of calculating your rate already and have a sense of what it usually is. According to "The Guardian," a resting heart rate of 10 or more beats per minute above your average is probably a sign that you shouldn't be jogging or doing other kinds of exercise.
Sometimes coughing isn't caused by a short term virus such as cold or flu. Chronic coughs, which last three or more weeks, can have many different triggers, including asthma, acid reflux, smoking and even postnasal drip.If a cough involves lingering chest pain, wheezing or labored breathing, avoid exercising. And be sure to see a doctor to discuss your symptoms and ask questions about exercise programs that are safe for people with your condition.
Err on the side of caution when it comes to jogging with a cough. Though exercise does benefit your immune system, it will just wear your body down if you start working out before you're ready. If you do decide to work out, reduce the intensity of your activity. This could mean taking a walk instead of your usual jog.