Happy hump day! Most people love Wednesday as a marker that the week is nearing an end, but I look forward to Thursday more. I think the fact that my three group fitness classes are front loaded into the week makes me focus on Thursday instead, because that’s when I feel a physical and mental break. Also, by Wednesday I seriously think it’s Friday because of how long the week has seemed… it’s bad news when I figure out it’s only mid-way through. Ouch.
I’ve been meaning to talk about this topic for a couple weeks now, ever since I got sick at the beginning of my prep. After doing seven competition preps in good health, I guess I was (over) due for some issues. A lot of my co-workers were sick, then Kyle got it. My OCD hand-washing kept me in good health for a little longer, but I knew it was just a matter of time. I got the chest cold that was going around the office, making me lose my voice and struggle to catch my breath. Needless to say, I took a few days off teaching classes (rather unavoidable when you have no voice), and I shifted my training schedule around to take some days off the gym entirely. I also took days off work in an effort to not spread it further – no one wants to be THAT person, right? The most frustrating point was that I physically felt fine – no fever, aches, chills, headaches, etc. Which is great, but makes it hard to force yourself to rest and recover when you feel ok. So, I camped out on the couch with the dogs… watched TV, did my taxes (I was that bored!), and read a lot.
The big question is – how do you know when to rest vs. continue to train?
Use your symptoms and how YOU feel to guide your exercise / rest. Generally speaking, if you have any of these symptoms, you need to stay home and recover:
- Body aches (joints, muscles)
- Light headedness
- Vomiting (these last two should be obvious…)
If you’re experiencing mild symptoms such as a runny nose, mildly sore throat, or a light, dry cough, you’re likely fine to stick to low intensity exercises.
The most important thing to remember is that exercising puts stress on your body, causing it to work towards repairing the exercise-induced damage. If your body is working hard to fight a virus, adding the extra stress of training is only going to prolong your illness recovery. Your body is an amazing machine, but it seriously can’t do EVERYTHING at once. This is what I kept in mind when fighting my cold – did I want to push it and possibly be sick for longer, or take a couple days off and recover faster? Definitely recover faster and get it all out ASAP!
Other things to keep in mind when recovering:
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Avoid processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated (especially important if you’re taking a decongestant – those will dry you right out!).
- Sleep as much as possible, or at least physically rest, to allow your body to focus on clearing out the virus (it’s the perfect reason to nap during the day, don’t question it).
And please, if you’re sick in any way, do everyone the favour of keeping your germs to yourself. Stay home until you’re well enough to enter society again, and then be sure to clean up after yourself – wipe down machines, wash your hands frequently, or use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash with soap and water.
And, because I’m nerdy and love infographics… here’s one for you to enjoy:
Stay healthy out there!!