Creating a healthier, happier you.
SHOULD YOU WORK OUT WHEN YOU'RE SICK?
It's hard to take rest days when you love to work out and are motivated to meet your fitness goals. So what happens when you're feeling sick? If you’ve ever wondered whether you should sweat it out or get some rest instead, then this one’s for you.
I’m also going to share a smoothie recipe that is a game-changer when you're feeling under the weather!
ADJUST THE INTENSITY
There's one thing you should know from the beginning: There’s a difference between working out and physically moving your body.
Structured workout routines awaken a stress response in your body. When we're healthy, our bodies can adapt to that stress. It’s actually good for us since working hard and pushing our limits is what helps make us fitter and stronger.
But when you’re sick, the stress of a tough workout can be more than your immune system can handle and can actually make you feel worse. It’s important to listen to your body. If you’re feeling achy and tired, it’s best to give your body the rest and fluids that it needs.
LOW AND SLOW IS THE WAY TO GO
What should you do when you’re on the mend and starting to regain your strength? Instead of opting for a crazy, strenuous workout, I suggest doing a lower-impact workout that's going to help you feel better.
Here are a few examples of low impact workouts that are better for when you’re sick.
- Bike riding
All of these activities have been shown to boost your immunity, and they're not intense enough to create serious immune-compromising stress on the body. Instead, they can actually help you feel better and recover faster.
Keep in mind that everyone is at a different fitness and wellness level. What feels low-impact to one person might be high-impact to another. So how do you decide what level of intensity counts as strenuous?
Try using this perceived level of exertion guide to choose your workout intensity when you’re recovering from being sick:
On a scale of one to ten, how do you feel after your workout? Do you feel energized, or do you feel drained? A high-intensity workout will usually make you feel a little worn out, so if you're sick you probably want to stay below a five.
HOW DOES EXERCISE AFFECT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?
Exercise plays a huge role in our immune system. Even one vigorous exercise session, like running a marathon, can deplete your immune system for up to 72 hours. That’s why so many athletes get sick right after a big competition, so be careful and listen to your body!
OTHER FACTORS THAT IMPACT YOUR HEALTH
Exercise isn’t the only thing that can affect your immune system. Stress plays a huge role, as well. Here are the different stressors a person might face on any given day:
- Physical stress: exercise, physical labor, sports
- Psychological stress: relationships, career, finances
- Environmental stress: pollution or altitude
- Lifestyle stress: drugs, diet, and hygiene.
These stressors can trigger hormonal shifts, resulting in chronic immune changes. If you don’t feel like your immune system can handle physical exercise, start with other strategies, like meditation. Maybe you need a little more sleep or more nutrients to help lower your stress levels so that you don't get sick as often, or stay sick as long.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For the sake of everyone at the gym, please stay out of the gym if you're sick! If you’re on the mend and you want to get moving, go outside or work out in your home gym so that you're not spreading your sickness to others.
MY FAVORITE SMOOTHIE TO SPEED UP RECOVERY
Okay, are you ready for the game-changing smoothie that I love to drink when I'm sick? When I'm under the weather, I try to get as many nutrients into my body as possible. I shoot for antioxidants, so I do a ton of greens, and I make sure I’m getting vitamin C, as well.
Here’s my go-to smoothie recipe:
Ingredients: This combination will give you all the nutrients you need to fight that sickness!
- 8 oz of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of BodyByBree Vanilla Protein
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
- Half of a banana (frozen will make it extra-creamy!)
- 2 cups of raw baby spinach
- Scoop of ice
Just blend it all up! This is the best green smoothie. Drink one of these a day when you're sick, and I promise it will help speed up your recovery.
If a client is really feeling sick and needs to rest, I always encourage extra sleep and liquids to help their body heal. When you feel up to it, try starting with gentle, low-impact activities. Trust me - you'll get better faster if you go a little slower and don’t push yourself too hard.
If you need more wellness tips or healthy recipes to help pump your body full of energy and nutrients, check out the BodyByBree cookbook!
I'm a mom of 4 and have been a certified personal trainer with specialties in pre- and postnatal fitness for 13 years. I'm also a certified nutrition specialist and certified meditation and mindfulness coach.
I am passionate about helping women change their lifestyles to be the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves and I've seen it happen for thousands of women.
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