Should I stay clear of sport when suffering from a blocked nose?

Find out if sport is a no-go when nasal problems such as congestion appear.

Dr. Jen Tan
Immune System Expert
Ask Dr. Jen Tan

13 March 2018

Nasal Problems

As I’m sure you’re probably aware, there are many common causes of nasal problems like congestion - hayfever, the environment and even the menopause for example, may have an impact. However, more often than not this problem is the result of a cold or flu.

The nose normally helps protect the body by preventing nasty things like dirt from entering. It is able to do this though mucus, a substance that is produced by the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages. However, when you become infected with a virus, this system becomes a little less organised. The mucus membranes can become swollen and inflamed which leads to an increase in the production of mucus and, therefore, an uncomfortable blocked nose

Can I do sport when my nose is blocked or dry?

It is true that we should keep up a routine of regular activity to improve our overall health and keep ourselves in tip-top shape. Nevertheless, we must also recognise when it is time to give our bodies a break. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a bout of nasal discomfort is one of those occasions. This is a time to hang up your gym bag and help your body out in other ways. 

I don’t think the arguments for doing sport whilst suffering from a nasal problem are too great so let’s have a look at why that might be.

It’ll Take Longer to Recover

If you have symptoms like the ones already discussed, it usually means your body is battling a virus. Therefore, if you keep going to the gym or to your regular fitness class, your body won’t get the rest and recuperation it needs in order to get rid of the virus. In fact, by continuing with your usual sporting activities whilst ill you may actually find your symptoms last longer.

Other Symptoms 

Nasal congestion is usually accompanied by a headache or dizziness so your body isn’t able to perform to the standard it would when healthy. These symptoms can affect co-ordination and balance so it’s easy to see why strenuous exercise is not a good idea. You don’t want to fall over in the gym whilst trying to lift weights!


As may be expected, a blocked nose can make it a little more difficult to breathe than normal. Therefore, if you start doing exercise you can get out of breath quicker and find it more difficult to catch your breath when you stop. This puts your body under a great deal of pressure, not to mention the fact it’s pretty uncomfortable, so it’s best to swap sit ups for putting your feet up whilst you get better!


It is important to stay hydrated when suffering from a blocked nose because this helps thin mucus to allow it to flow easily from your nose. Plus, if you are suffering from other symptoms like a sore throat as well, water helps ease the problem by keeping the throat moist and preventing it from drying out. However, exercise causes your body to sweat and so you immediately begin to lose water which could worsen your symptoms. 

How can I stay active?

If a cold or flu means you are suffering from a nasal problem, I’d definitely recommend you take some time out from your usual activities to recover. This is especially true if your symptoms extend to the chest, meaning a cough or a chest infection is an issue. However, if you feel the need to do some sport with a blocked nose, here are a few suggestions.

Relaxing Stretches

If you want to do a little activity whilst your nose is blocked then stretching is a good one to try because you can do as much or a little of it as you like! Plus, you could even do it sitting down in the comfort of your own bed!

Stick to Warm Ups

Instead of putting your body through a difficult exercise session whilst you’re poorly, why not try something a little less strenuous? Completing an exercise warm up without actually doing the sport is a great way to keep your body moving without exhausting yourself or making your symptoms worse. Our blog ‘a simple warm up routine for any kind of exercise’ can give you more information. Remember, if you need to keep it short then do - there’s no point in making your symptoms worse by pushing yourself too hard!


Walking is another activity that won’t put your body under too much pressure whilst you’re poorly. Once again though, just take it slow and only do as much as is comfortable. If a stroll to your local shop is all you can manage then that’s ok! 


Instead of just continuing with your usual sporting activities whilst suffering from a nasal problem, here are a few suggestions to help you get over your bout of illness quickly. 

Sinuforce Nasal Spray

Sinuforce Nasal Spray contains eucalyptus, menthol and chamomile to help reduce irritation and inflammation. Overall, this has a soothing effect and helps ease a blocked nose.  This product is also great because it is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, pregnant women and those breastfeeding too. This means everyone can benefit from rapid relief from a blocked nose!

Food and drink

When you’re ill it is more important than ever that you take care when choosing what to eat and drink. Water is a must because not only does it keep you hydrated, it can actually help a blocked nose. This is because it makes mucus thinner to help it flow easily from the nose. As for foods that can help this problem, well it’s a good idea to avoid dairy but to include lots of citrus fruits. Our blog ‘can what you eat and drink affect your blocked nose?’ provides more information on the food and drinks to help beat a blocked nose.

Look after your body

If you want to get over your blocked nose, and possibly cold or flu, it’s a good idea to give yourself some rest! A blocked nose can make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep but do try and get the necessary seven to nine hours a night. If that’s impossible, you may require a day off work to recuperate and nap! Everyone gets sick at some point so don’t be afraid to call in and ask for it off. After all, there’s no point turning up and not being able to function properly because of illness.

Sinuforce Nasal Spray - Blocked nose remedy

Sinuforce - For the relief of nasal catarrh, nasal congestion and a runny nose.
More info

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Here’s what I recommend

As the A. Vogel Immune System expert, I recommend Sinuforce Nasal Spray with menthol, to help ease symptoms of a blocked nose.

Learn more

Did you know?

Pregnancy can make you more susceptible to a blocked nose. Hormonal changes can cause the delicate tissues of your nose to become inflamed, restricting the flow of air and causing you to experience a blocked nose.

What's causing my blocked nose at night?

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