I’m on day 5 of being sick and while I don’t feel awesome, I don’t feel that terrible either. I’ve been getting better each day and almost feel back to normal. This is good news because I really need a good workout!
I’ve read all the articles that tell you it’s fine to work out when you’re sick, as long as it’s above the neck and all that. Well, over the past years I’ve made some classic mistakes when it comes to this. The biggest mistake I’ve made is that I’m usually in denial in the beginning. I would feel myself getting sick, but some part of me thought that if I just ignored it, it would go away. As a result, I wouldn’t change any part of my normal routine and sprint/HIIT/lift away as usual. This typically resulted in bronchitis that lasted for 3 weeks. Not good!
These days, I’m much better about taking care of myself when I feel a cold coming on (though Riley would argue with you, given that I haven’t taken a sick day in…hmm, not sure, actually, but it’s been a while). I’m learning to embrace the sleep and relaxation needed to get better quickly. Sadly, this meant a completely boring weekend in which I did nothing to celebrate St. Patty’s Day and received this text from my friend after declining her invitation to hang out:
While I was kind of bummed I missed out on all the weekend fun, I’m glad I did because it means I have learned from my mistakes! Here are some of the best things I’ve learned about working out while sick.
Working out with a cold
1) Go on the offensive early! If I spend the first 3-5 days of a cold ignoring it, it ALWAYS gets worse. Cut back on the intensity of your workouts, drink a ton of water, and go to bed an hour earlier. It’s worth it, even if you don’t feel all that bad at first. I’d rather take it easy for a few days and get better fast than keep plugging away as normal and have it linger for a month.
2) Give yourself permission to “slack off.” There will be plenty of HIIT and sprinting to go around later, so when I get sick I try not to worry too much about getting off track and to just do what I can. This morning, for example, I planned on going to the gym. After assessing how I felt when the alarm went off, my gym workout turned into yoga in the living room, which is just fine. Though I’ll warn you, doing yoga in your living room is a challenge when you have a cat who wants to do it too.
3) Listen to your body. I can’t stress this one enough. Everyone is different, so don’t assume that because some people run half marathons when sick that you should do it too. A lot of people work out when they’re sick and it doesn’t change the course of their cold. I am not one of those people. If I stay business-as-usual with my workouts, it will take forever to get better. Working out while sick also means cutting into much-needed sleep for me and also dehydrates me. If I want to get better fast, I know I need to slooooow down.
Now that I’ve gotten my 9 hours of sleep and done some yoga, I feel ready to get started with my day. I’ll be back in the gym tomorrow, and I’ll hopefully be all better. Hope you all have a good one!
Do you work out when you’re sick? If so, do you change up the routine or just stick to the usual?