When can you exercise after being sick?
Have you been sick lately and wondering if you’re already well enough to work out? The flu season is fully on and I’ve got many questions related the time between after being sick and getting back in normal exercise habits. When it’s safe to get back on business? How soon and intensely you can return to workouts depends on the length and severity of your illness, as well as your own level before you got sick. I hope you all understand that there is certainly no ‘one-size fits all’ answer, but I hope you find the following helpful.
Have you ever heard about “the rule of the neck”? Well I think it is quite good indicator, which tells how you should act. Shortly explained it means that if you have symptoms above the neck such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes or a mild sore throat, you can start considering returning back to your routines and a light workout. BUT with some extra carefulness and taking it really easy. And below the neck is a whole different story! If you have any fever, muscle aches, chills, cough, a congested or tight chest, an upset stomach, nausea, etc. your body isn’t ready to workout yet. So, take it easy and rest!
Your first workout sessions should be max half the length and half the intensity than what you are used to. If you are a runner, the first week after being sick should consist only walking and if you love hot yoga, I suggest you start with the basic one first and take the shortest class possible. And if you have heard the advice to sweat the infection out, don’t! If your symptoms are any of the below neck ones, working out at this point will only slam you down, as well as expose you for some other illnesses since your immune system isn’t working as it should be. I know that it’s super hard restrain yourself and start “from the bottom”/ below your own level, but better safe than sorry!
Also, your resting heart rate can be a good indicator of whether starting exercising is appropriate. Of course, you have to know what your normal rate is when you are feeling 100% well! If the resting level is 10 beats per minute above normal, you should still skip the workouts and rest more.
So, always return to workouts with caution. Listen to your body signals carefully; how you feel, is your length of breath normal and how’s the feeling in your head? If you are experiencing any dizziness or weakness overall, stop immediately. Also, remember to stay well hydrated and eat nutritious meals, as those make it easier to recover.
Remember also that each of us is an individual and the above advices applies persons, who have had normal flu, cold, stomach bug etc. If you have been treated by a doctor, it is always good to follow given instructions and return to workouts when you get permission.
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