To train or not to train during illness?
I thought I had escaped it this year, but alas, the lurgy has hit me. Many of us will be struck down with illness at this time of year, but the question is…to train or not to train?
In a nutshell – listen to your body. It may seem obvious but it’s the best guide. If you feel just a little under the weather with a bit of a sniffle or a slightly annoying dryness in the throat, then I would say go ahead and train. You may need to adapt things and bring things down a notch or two, but you will probably still enjoy, and benefit from doing some exercise.
If however, your head is pounding, it hurts to move any limb even slightly, you feel like a big blob of green slime, you’re coughing persistently like you smoke 200 a day, and your throat feels full of razor blades….then I’d suggest to stay wrapped up, rest and stay away from exercise! Your body wouldn’t thank you for working out.
This may seem obvious but so many ladies ask me if they should train or not when they feel sick. You will know yourself. If not, then test it out with a gentle walk and see how you feel during and afterwards.
At this time of year it can be the most frustrating. You’ve seen Christmas through, you’ve devoured the three ton of cheese in your fridge to eliminate temptation in January, you’ve mentally set your fitness goals, and you’ve even dug out your exercise gear again…. And then you get hit with sickness and it messes up all your plans. It can be tempting to just push on through and start working for those goals, but it’s best to be sensible. Pushing your body too hard too soon can actually set you back by prolonging your illness as well as increasing your risk of injury. So just be patient.
Here’s my top tips of how to stay on track when you’re ill:
1) Listen to your body. What is it really capable of at the moment?
2) Make sensible decisions. If you are going to train, do you need to shorten your workout or adapt any exercises?
3) Recognise that it’s OK to change your plans if you’re sickness gets worse or starts improving. Remember point 1?
4) If you decide you need complete rest to let your body heal, then accept this quickly and do it! Don’t try to push through now and again. Just grab your duvet and head for the sofa. Use this time to make some notes about what your goals are, how you’re going to reach them and make weekly plans to help you stay on track when you’re finally ready to get started.
5) Drink water to keep hydrated. Your body craves water and certainly needs it to aid recovery. Hot water and lemon is a winner! Especially if you have a throat full of razor blades.
6) If you are off your food, just eat whatever you fancy. Your sickness isn’t going to last too long, so don’t add guilt to the mix by forcing down asparagus and kale smoothies if all you want is dry white bread toast! You may run the risk of making yourself feel more under the weather. Just go with it for a few days, any nutrition is better than none.
7) If you can manage it, eat fruit and veg to increase the goodness available to your body to aid repair and recovery.
8) Get help. Having a bit of help, even with the slightest of things, like doing the dishes or bringing you milk, can take the pressure off. Having another pair of hands helps you rest up and speed up your recovery.
9) Ditch the non-essentials for exactly the same reason. Prioritise. The long To Do List will still be waiting for you when you’re fighting fit again in a week or so, but for the moment just do what you absolutely need to do.
10) Sleep. Your body maximises repair and recovery when it is asleep. So stay on the sofa, or in bed, and enjoy having lots of power naps. Your body will thank you for them.
If you are suffering from the Winter bugs at the moment then I wish you a speedy recovery. I can’t wait until my body fights it off because I am extremely keen to get exercising again and making big changes in 2017. Plus, I need oodles of energy for all the super exciting things planned for Tribal this year. But I’ll just have to be patient and wait a few more days until I can get my teeth stuck in to it all.
Being ill sucks eh! But it’s times like this I realise how amazing and complicated our bodies are, and it baffles me how they don’t go wrong more often! We take our health for granted, and we absolutely shouldn’t.
Stay happy and healthy everyone!
Head Chief Nikki xx