Should I Exercise With a Sore Throat?

Doctor examining a woman's throat.
Image Credit: Jovanmandic/iStock/Getty Images

Low to moderate exercise may help improve your immune response when suffering from common cold symptoms such as a sore throat. However, if your sore throat is accompanied by additional symptoms such as a fever, you may want to avoid exercise until symptoms subside. Sleep patterns, diet and age are all considerations when determining if exercise is appropriate while suffering from a sore throat.

Causes and Additional Symptoms

Although many viral and bacterial infections may cause a sore throat, the rhinovirus is one of the most common -- hence the name, "the common cold." If your sore throat is a symptom of a common cold, you may also be experiencing additional symptoms such as a runny nose, fatigue, cough or congestion. More severe symptoms include a fever, sinus pain and swollen glands. Avoid exercise and consult a physician if you are experiencing symptoms longer than seven to 10 days or have a fever.

Low to Moderate Intensity

The American College of Sports Medicine states that low to moderate exercise may be beneficial if you're experiencing cold symptoms from the neck up, such as a sore throat. Walking, cycling, stretching and yoga are some examples of low to moderate intensity exercises. Slowing down or reducing the duration of your exercise routine are also easy ways to decrease the intensity of a workout.


High-intensity exercise may suppress the immune system, and therefore should be avoided while suffering from a sore throat. High-intensity exercise includes endurance activities, heavy weightlifting and competitions.

Additional Considerations

If your sore throat is accompanied with chest congestion, fatigue and a fever, avoid exercise until symptoms subside. Always consult a physician before exercising with a sore throat if you have other health problems, are elderly or pregnant, or still aren't sure whether you should work out. When suffering from a sore throat and exercising, drink plenty of water, eat a well-rounded diet and get plenty of rest to avoid prolonging or worsening symptoms.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker before leaving the house.