By Dec 06, 2022

How to Workout After Being Sick

a woman smiling while running on a treadmill at the gym.

Happy flu season, everyone! I suppose it’s inevitable, around this time of year, for illness to become a common aspect of our lives. When we’re crammed indoors like a bunch of sardines with head colds, germs will get passed around. After a week or two of moving from one prone position to another, using couches, beds, and floors as props, you may be ready to start exercising again.

Ready is an understatement. When you or I lace up our best fitness shoes and hit the treadmill for the first time after being sick, there are certain things we need to do to make sure we aren’t doing ourselves more harm than good. Here are some helpful exercise tips:

  • First, we must ensure we’re well enough to work out. If you have a fever, you’re not ready to work out. You’re not ready to work out if you haven’t finished all your medications. You’re not ready to workout if you have aches, pains, or chest congestion.

When you’re sick, you want your body to use all of its resources to get you feeling better. By using your energy to exercise, you may be temporarily suppressing your immune system and preventing yourself from healing. Nobody likes feeling out of shape, but it’s better to let your workout wait until you’re well enough to do it.

  • If you’re feeling well enough to work out, the second thing you need to do is stay hydrated. Fluids are important for exercise and cases of flu. Electrolyte imbalance is common and can cause some nasty results. Drinking lots of fluids will help you heal faster and keep you balanced so that you’ll feel better doing it when you work out after you’ve been sick.

You also want to ensure you’ve had two days of good, healthy food intake before you attempt to work out after you’ve been sick, especially if you’ve been suffering from the stomach flu. Without the calories to support your energy expenditure, you will be unable to work out and feel good. Eat a lot of protein and carbohydrates before you get back into your workout.

When you do start working out after you’ve been sick, start slowly. You may have lost a bit of your edge while you were sick. It’s natural for you to feel out of shape and obsessively determined to jump back into exercise with a vengeance. Fight this instinct, and take it slowly.

It won’t take too much effort to get back to where you were. Use our tips for building endurance the right way. Start slowly, and increase your intensity gradually over time. In the beginning, you may want to work out fewer days than you previously did or cut your workout time in half. By taking it slowly, you’ll be back to your peak performance in no time.

As you ease into your workout routine, monitor your body to ensure you’re still feeling well. If physical exercise overly fatigues you, wait a day or two before you try it again. Be aware of your limits, and don’t try to push them too much right after you’ve been sick. If you treat your body well, it will treat you well.

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