‘Tis the season to be germy. Whether the hay, leaves, or other allergens are bothering you this time of year, or if you came down with a cold or the flu, it’s important to get back to your exercise routine AFTER you’re over your symptoms (or after you’ve finished your medication if you were prescribed any).
I find it really hard to exercise while I’m sick, whether it’s just a runny nose from allergies or a full-on cold. Some people say fight through it, others say get your rest and get better first before going back to it. I tend to fall in with the latter opinion. If you’re not sure whether you can handle, better sit this one out–better safe than sorry!
But if you’re out for a couple days with the flu or longer with something lingering, it can be really hard to get motivated to get back into your routine. So, how do you get started?
1. Approach it slowly
You’ve just had a few days away from your fitness routine, and your body will no doubt be a little out of practice, no matter how great you were doing before you fell under the weather. In addition, your body’s just been working hard on the inside to get you well again, so it might not be up to a full-throttle workout right away.
Cut back on your total time, distance, or number of repetitions (whichever applies) and work your way back slowly to where you left off before you got sick. You don’t want to push yourself too hard too fast or you’re liable to put yourself at risk for another cold/virus/etc.
If you don’t usually eat before you work out, now’s a good time to start. A pre-workout snack is a great way to prepare your body for the energy it’s about to burn and give you the strength to make it through your routine.
Also, if you had to stay in bed while you were sick, the lack of movement might have weakened your muscles a little. Eating a healthy pre-workout snack (and getting back to your usual diet) can help you replenish some of that strength while you work on building your muscles back up.
You should be hydrating anyway when you exercise, but especially after you’ve recovered from being sick, it’s important to keep up your fluid intake. If you had a respiratory illness, the water will help keep your mouth and throat quenched as it continues to heal. In any case, staying hydrated will help you continue to sweat out the toxins and flush them out of your system.
4. Schedule it
If you were not on a schedule before you got sick, scheduling your workouts post-illness may be one of the only ways you can make sure you get back into the groove of exercising regularly. Also, you may want to give yourself a little extra time in case you need to take a few more breaks than usual.
5. Know your limits!
This goes back to #1: while you want to take your time getting back into your fitness routine, you also need to know when your body’s had enough for the day. If you’re still recovering, or if you were out for more than a couple days, it may take some time to get back to the intensity level or duration you were used to. The last thing you want is to overdo it too soon, leave your body vulnerable, and get sick all over again.
Do you have any tips on how to get back to your exercise habits after you’ve been sick? Post them in the comments!
Photo by: William Brawley