Flu season is a terrible time of year. Everyone is getting sick and that often causes us to be incredibly fatigued, possibly contagious, and changes our appetite. It is good to know that if you are taking care of yourself by consistently following a fitness program and eating a healthy meal regimen, the likelihood of you getting sick in the first place is significantly less.
Working out and eating well helps your entire body becomes more efficient and stronger, including your immune system. However, even the most religiously fit people will be knocked down with the occasional illness. If this happens, it is very natural for your body to want to take it easy and lay on the couch all day.
Don’t let this physically tired feeling affect your mental focus.
Whether you were just starting to get on a routine with your fitness, or you have been doing great with your plan thus far, no one wants this set back. Some ways that you can stay on track while you are getting over your sickness include light exercise, rest, regular eating if possible, vitamin and mineral replenishment, and a good dosage of positivity.
A lot of times when we are sick we are tired because we either aren’t eating as much or as regularly as usually do and that will affect how much energy we have. Being sick will affect everyone in different way so if you’re nauseous, I understand that you won’t be able to take in the energy you need to not be tired.
If you are throwing up, my advice to you is to rest that day and not exercise. It’s okay to skip a day or two so you can recover. Your body may not be able to handle even light exercise because you don’t have nutrients in your body to use as energy. This could be dangerous and cause light headedness and even fainting if extreme. If you continue to vomit or have diarrhea, simply drink as much water mixed with half a Pedialyte or other electrolyte replenishment drink to stay as hydrated as possible.
Once you get over this part of your sickness, start slowly into eating as often as you were on your normal routine. Stay clear of heavy, fried, or spicy foods to avoid upsetting your stomach. To ease back into your exercise routine, try walking and body weight squats. If you feel okay doing that, try bending over and touching your feet and coming back up.
If you can do all these things without a head rush or feeling nauseous you are probably okay to do your fitness routine, or a scaled back version of it. Perhaps use lighter weight while performing the same movements on your program.
Instead of doing a high intensity cardio workout, try getting on the bike and elevating the resistance. This will cause your heart rate to go up with very little movement to keep you stationary and not aggravate your illness until days pass and you feel more like yourself. As long as you’re able to keep food and liquids down, light exercise could actually speed up your recovery period. Sweating will be good to release toxins and alter your hormones to bounce back quicker.
Remember, if you are sick it’s important to avoid going to the gym. Not only are you keeping others healthy, but you will be avoiding germs that could prolong your illness or make it worse.
We all know and have been preached to about the importance of Vitamin C and how it helps boost your immune system to be stronger to fight off the common sickness. However, there is a lot of research supporting that Vitamin D has more dramatic results with supporting the immune system to prevent getting sick. Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, you need to have a serving of fat around the time you take Vitamin D so you can absorb it. Vitamin D and C are necessary for fueling strength to your immune system.
I advise my clients to drink at least a gallon of water (128oz) a day, regardless of their size. However, others may need a gallon and a half to two gallons depending on individual factors like how much they exercise or how hot it is outside. If you drink a lot of other beverages that may cause dehydration, like alcohol or soda, you may need additional water to supplement that.
Let’s not forget or underestimate the power of sleep. If you are unable to hold down the food you are taking in, sleep may be your only option to help you recover until that passes.
Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is crucial—especially while you are feeling under the weather. So if you are someone who usually works out before going to work, you may want to go to bed a lot earlier than usual to compensate being sick and getting enough rest. That way, you don’t make your illness worse while trying to do light exercises so you’re not skipping completely.