Can Running Help a Sinus Infection?

Running isn't the typical remedy that most people think of when it comes to helping to alleviate symptoms of a sinus infection, but running can help to temporarily relieve nasal congestion. Sinusitis is an infection that occurs in the sinus cavities that causes severe congestion, sinus headaches, post-nasal drip and loss of taste and smell. If running makes you feel worse, stop exercising and call your doctor. A sinus infection needs to be diagnosed by a medical doctor for the most effective treatment options.

couple running down street (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

Sinus Infection

woman sneezing into tissue (Image: petrunjela/iStock/Getty Images)

Your sinuses are air-filled cavities behind your nose, cheeks and eyes. Nasal passages are lined with a layer of mucus that helps to protect the soft tissues and filter airborne particles from entering the lungs. A sinus infection occurs when your sinus passages become inflamed because of a virus, bacteria or fungus. The infection causes an increased blood flow and swelling that restricts your ability to breathe normally or to drain mucus out of your nostrils. The blockage in the sinuses causes pain throughout the head, such as in the ears, upper teeth, eyes, forehead and cheeks.


man running down road (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

Running causes an increase in your heart rate, which causes blood to flow faster throughout the body, resulting in less blood flow to the sinuses. This action can reduce the inflammation in the sinus cavity, but will not cure a sinus infection. Exercise is recommended with common symptoms of a sinus infection, but if you have symptoms that are below the neck, such as chest congestion, constant coughing or an upset stomach, you should refrain from running until symptoms subside. In some cases, a sinus infection may lead to a low-grade fever. It's not advisable to run if you develop a fever.

Conventional Treatment

woman drinking glass of water (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

If your doctor suspects that the infection is the result of a bacterial infection, she will prescribe antibiotic treatment to kill the bacteria, which will alleviate symptoms. If the infection is viral, lifestyle changes may be suggested. Increased water intake and the use of over-the-counter decongestants can help to provide relief to symptoms associated with a sinus infection. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than three consecutive days because it may make congestion worse.


runner taking a break on log (Image: BrittaKokemor/iStock/Getty Images)

If you continue to run with sinusitis, you should reduce the longevity and intensity of the workout until you feel better. While exercise helps to maintain overall health, over-exerting yourself can cause your illness to become prolonged.

Load Comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.