If I had a dollar for every time my grandmother told me to put a coat on before I caught pneumonia, I’d be a very rich woman. Sure, bundling up to prevent an illness is not exactly sound science. People do tend to cash in a few extra sick days this time of year, though. If you find yourself battling anything from the common cold to the flu, you may also find yourself struggling with your workout routine.
Get the go-ahead.
Depending on the severity of your illness, you may need to check in with your doctor to make sure you’re ready to get active. If you don’t think a checkup is necessary, make sure its been at least 48 hours since you’ve had a fever and that you’ve gotten good, restful sleep.
Take it slow.
No matter how much time you’ve taken off, it’s important to ease back into your routine. Start with some light cardio and bodyweight moves before tackling any long runs or heavy weights. Walking and swimming are great choices, too. A good rule of thumb is to start at about 70-80% of what you were doing before you fell ill.
Ignore the mantras.
“No pain, no gain” and other fitness mantras have no place in your recovery. Pain is pain and you should take it seriously. Cut your workouts short or cancel them altogether if you aren’t up for it. It’s better to start when you’re feeling well. Don’t force it too early.
I’m probably stating the obvious with this one, but it has to be said. Proper hydration is critical, especially after an illness. If you tend to be a little lax in the water-chugging department, set reminders on your phone or label your water bottle with times to drink up. Do whatever it takes.
Get some rest.
Now is not the time to start waking up at four in the morning to knock out a long run. In fact, go ahead and be a workout rebel. Hit snooze a few times and soak up some good sleep. Your body will thank you.
It’s no secret that bouncing back from an illness can be tough. It is not always as simple as just picking up from where you left off. In fact, it can sometimes feel like you’re back where you started. But if you’re patient and take good care of yourself, you’ll be back to the old you in no time.