Tips to Get Back to Exercise After Being Sick

In my last post, I discussed how well the early morning routine was going. I was meal prepping the night before, exercising in the morning. Life was following my plan. At least it was for a short bit. Now, it's been about a week of battling illness on all fronts and by all members of our house. So far, the dogs are the only ones who have been spared. Even the best workout routines can be derailed by illness. I found myself googling how to get back to exercise after being sick. After successfully working my way back into a workout routine, I wanted to share my tips to get back to exercise after being sick.

It started with my husband having a 24 hour bug that left him glued to the couch. Then our daughter was sent home from daycare. The third day, I attributed my yuckiness to allergies. The weekend included trade-offs of between my husband and I so we could get some rest. Sunday I started having nausea and stomach cramps that continued through Monday. I was subsequently diagnosed with the stomach flu (or virus of some sort). Needless to say, my appetite and energy level have been minimal. Exercise has been practically non-existent since I was happy just to get in the shower over the last few days.

I'm happy to report that after a Zofran and probiotic prescription (along with lots of water and Gatorade), I feel like I'm on the mend. While I feel like I now have the energy to cook dinner and vacuum, the idea of a high intensity workout sounds miserable at the moment. I know I'll get back to that, but I wanted to share how I get back into exercise after being ill. Unfortunately, I've found that I've had to use this routine a lot more since we have a small child at daycare.

Should you Exercise when You're Not 100%?

In my experience, most professionals agree that if the illness is similar to a common cold or the symptoms are "above the neck" then moderate exercise like walking is okay. It may even be helpful. If your symptoms include things such as fever, fatigue, and body aches, it's best to let your body rest. The immune system needs the energy to help the body fight the illness.

Tips to get back to exercise after being sick

1. Start Slow

If you can, while you're ill try light walking at a comfortable pace. Even just a few minutes will help with blood flow. It will help get oxygen to the muscles and possibly brighten your mood. Try starting at about 50% intensity and work in rest breaks as needed. This is not the time to push yourself to exhaustion.

2. Schedule Rest Days

When you first return to running or working out, it can be tempting to schedule a workout in every day. You've felt like crap for so long, it's only normal to want to hit the pavement at full go. Your body is still recovering even after symptoms are gone, so consider starting out with 1-2 days of rest between each workout day.Listen to Your Body

3. Listen to your Body

This seems like a no brainer, but I'm guilty of not doing this. If you start to feel exhausted or winded when you normally wouldn't, take this as a sign to either take a break or stop the workout. Even a short time out of commission can affect your aerobic capacity, so it's going to take time to get back to 100%. You want to listen to your body to avoid injury by pushing when your body isn't ready.

4. Stay Hydrated

This one seems common sense as well, but hydrate before during and after a workout. This will help improve energy level and to avoid dehydration after illness.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

Personally, my favorite workouts are the ones that leave me feeling like a sweaty heap of jello. I'm totally guilty of not feeling like restorative or stretching workouts are worth my time. However, I've come to appreciate what they have to offer. Try not to beat yourself up if all you do for a week or two is light yoga or stretching. Easing back into movement may be the best thing for you. Try a restorative yoga class or grab your foam roller and stretching strap. While I love my high intensity workouts, typically if that's what I try to go back to right after being sick, it's not going to happen.

I hope these tips to get back to exercise after being sick will help you return to exercise! I know it's tough, but ultimately, listen to your body and it will tell you what you're ready for.

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