Returning To Exercise After Illness
Hello….I’m back, well almost!
This post is going to be about returning to exercise after illness. Very relevant for me right now and especially after this last week…
“I don’t really get poorly”
“All the exercise and wholefoods/vegetables I eat keep my immune system strong”
“My daily cold showers work wonders”
All the above comments, came round to swiftly bite me on the arse last week 😂
The truth is, all the above comments are true. I haven’t been ‘properly’ poorly in over 10 years. Even with covid, I just had a tired day and still went on as usual. Of course, I’ve had plenty of under the weather days but I’m talking the kind of poorly, where you literally can’t leave your bed for days.
It’s also true that eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular exercise does improve your immune system.
And I also firmly believe in cold therapy and the science behind it.
But sometimes you just can’t control the uncontrollable’ s 🤷♀️
Why did my immune system let me down and catch this awful chest infection?
Maybe it was burning the candles at both ends on my birthday the weekend before – lack of sleep and too much alcohol?
Maybe it was just overdoing it in general?
Maybe there is no reason and if your gonna catch something, then it is what it is 😂
One thing I have appreciated over this last week though, is just how getting ill can have such a huge impact on your mental health too.
I deal with clients who have gone and are going through varying different conditions, and I think 1 thing we sometimes neglect to understand is the knock-on effect that these conditions have on us mentally as well as physically.
In my case, it is/was just a chest infection and I know minor compared to what some others are going through. For me, it was a huge deal not being able to physically move for the best part of a week.
The first few days you feel so bad, you can just about muster the energy up to take some painkillers. You're just getting through each day.
Every day, you're expecting to wake up the next feeling better, but it seems never-ending.
Then the guilt kicks in…
You're not doing anything your kids
Work is piling up
You're not responding to messages
Nothing is getting done in the house
All the hard consistent regular training feels like it has gone to waste
If you are naturally not a person that finds it easy to sit down and do nothing all day, this can really start to get you down.
Because in your head there’s so much you want to do, but physically you just don’t feel well enough to do it.
So, what do you do?
Well, you let your body it’s amazing work and fight that infection or virus off!
You listen to your body, and I guess it would be easy for me to say ‘Don’t let yourself feel guilty’ because I know as a Mum and especially as someone who wants to try and get everything as right as I can, that is just impossible.
But it’s knowing when to let it go 💙
So…moving swiftly on…how do we know when is the right time to get back to exercise and how should we go about it?
First and foremost, it’s listening to your body and assessing how you feel physically as well as mentally.
For example, if you were the sort of person who struggled with motivation prior to getting ill, it could be that you are physically in a better place, but your mindset is still holding onto the illness as a reason for not doing it.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are someone (like me) that struggles with not doing a daily workout, you could risk your mind telling you that you are ready, overdoing it and then setting yourself back.
So No 1: Listen, assess and be realistic
No.2 – Training Frequency. So, if you were training 6 days before, don’t go straight back in with this. Start off with a day, then rest. Re-asses and go again
No 3 – Training Intensity – It’s likely if you’ve been floored for a week or longer that you aren’t going to be able to jump right back into the weight you were lifting before or the speed you were running for example. Modify the intensity, drop it right down and build yourself up gradually again
No 4 – I can’t stress enough about building up gradually. You need to give your body the time to adjust and adapt to training again. You go in at the deep end, this is prime time for another setback or possible injury
No 5 – Fuel your body effectively. You might not have eaten as you normally would throughout your illness. On one of the days, I had ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner 😂 But it was the only thing I could get down and it’s what I fancied.
If you normally struggle with your diet, draw that line right now. Don’t let getting ill become another reason for weeks or months of losing control.
Think about how you want to fuel your body.
Do you want the stuff that is going to make you perform your best and keep those gears working well or do you want the stuff that is going to slow you down and make you feel sluggish?
Here’s to our health!