**Ahh–chooo!** Bless you! Colds, flu and other viruses can hit any time of year but it seems that late winter and early spring have more than their share. Our family is currently dealing with an outbreak of RSV among the littlest members, and it’s a tough illness—bad cough, high fever and runny nose. Fortunately the littles are feeling better and we’re grateful for the return of high spirits and lots of energy!
But what happens to your exercise routine when illness hits? Whether you’re taking care of others or staying down yourself, exercise may be the last thing on your list. And you know what? It’s legal to take days off! That’s one secret to staying consistent for the long haul—giving yourself mental permission to be real.
After recovering from illness, there will come a time when you know it’s time to climb back in the saddle and get back to your workout routine. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Start slow. You will probably need to take it easy at first. If you’ve been really sick, please check with your doctor before you resume activity. Here are some ways to get started gently:
Primary Back Stretch only
Primary Back Stretch and then as many moves as you can until you get too tired
A few minutes of Step Away the Inches to get the lymph moving
T-Tapp MORE Chair (a favorite for a slow start)
T-Tapp MORE Step Away
T-Tapp MORE Chair plus Step Away
Basic Workout Plus, 4 reps
Note: These same workouts can be good for beginning or during a mild illness. There have been times when I’ve warded off a mild illness by doing Step Away the Inches when I started feeling “off.” A nice hot bath and some extra supplements before bed can help, too.
Extra water breaks and kick-outs. The pause button is your friend. Feel free to stop between moves (even every move) and take a sip of water and kick out your feet.
Push yourself gently but don’t hurt yourself. Stop if you feel dizzy or nauseous (although mild nausea is normal if you haven’t worked out in a while, due to T-Tapp’s lymphatic pumping). You have time to get back in shape, let your body heal.
Skip moves if needed. When recovering from a sinus infection, head rocks and Oil Wells can be tough. Adapt or skip if it’s uncomfortable. But remember the Golden Skipping Rule: it’s okay to skip moves, just don’t rearrange them.
Be kind to yourself. Understand that it can take a while to get back up to speed. You may feel frustrated with your lack of strength or endurance. For me personally, two weeks seems to be the magic number. If I hang in there with working back up, after two weeks I’m feeling much stronger.
Listen to your body (but don’t listen to your excuses). In other words, DO be sensible and don’t push too hard. But DON’T baby yourself too much and excuse yourself too easily. Moving your body can help restore your energy levels and kick out the remaining effects of illness.
The good news is that exercise strengthens the immune system, so your efforts to stay in shape can lead to fewer times of sickness. When you’re recovering from illness, be patient and take the time to work up to your usual routine. Your body will thank you!