Workout tips after cold & flu season

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It’s that time of year. The time when the sun doesn’t have a strict curfew and can stay out a little later, the flowers start to muscle their way up from the ground, the trees decide to clothe themselves with leaves, and the world becomes a little more colorful.

Spring time.

Sounds great….with a few caveats. The pollen goes crazy, which means so do allergies. The weather can’t make up its mind if it’s going to be 30°F or 70°F and snow or rain in the same day (especially in Colorado). And with that also brings Spring cold and flu season. It’s my firm belief that it’s Old Man Winter’s April fools joke: it’s nice out, but I’m going to make sure you don’t get Spring fever yet. Just a fever. It’s his way of hanging on as long as he can, not willing to fully relinquish his power just yet.

Getting knocked down with a severe case of the sniffles happens to many people this time of year. I happen to be one of those who is just getting over it. And guess what, getting back in to a workout routine is hard. Two weeks of bed rest and taking it easy while my body recovers doesn’t do great things to my strength and endurance. I had to leave my boxing class early, which I’ve never done, because I couldn’t go more than a few rounds. I tried to go for a trail run with my dog, and ended letting my 90lb lab pull me the rest of the way up the hill after about 10 minutes. 1 step forward, 2 10 steps back. Starting back is hard, but I know if I keep up with it, my endurance and strength will return.

Here are a few ways to get back on the exercise track after recovering from Old Man Winter throwing a temper tantrum and taking it out on our bodys.

1. Drink water. A lot of water. Your body is getting over fighting a virus, infection, what have you, and water makes it that much easier to do so. It helps to detox your body, as well as replenish whatever was lost during being sick. Really, though, you should be drinking a lot of water in the first place. We can all use reminders, myself included.

2. Eat. Sounds pretty basic, but can often be a chore when you’re not feeling your best. As long as you don’t have the flu, make sure you’re eating adequately to maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. This also keeps your energy up and assists when you start to exercise again. That being said, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that your body can use in the recovery process, specifically foods packed with Vitamin C and Vitamins B. Immunity-boosting foods are a good idea. Comfort foods can be tempting, but make sure you’re supplementing vitamin-packed foods as well.

3. Get plenty of sleep. This is where your body recovers the most and can do battle with any lingering germs. Sleeping an adequate amount will greatly help your immune system, as well as help you recover faster. For me, this wasn’t a problem as whatever I had completely knocked me on my butt. Adding in a nap isn’t a bad idea either, if that’s a possibility for you.

4. Assess yourself. It’s hard not to be active for a few days, never mind 2 weeks. When I did some internal evaluations, though, I realized I needed to take some more time to recover, as much as I didn’t want to. Doing some self assessing can be beneficial; you’re not starting back in to anything prematurely, allowing yourself adequate time to rest and recuperate. I’m not good at being still, but I knew I needed to do what was best for me. Take it as a lesson in patience. ….Who am I kidding? It still sucks.

5. Start slow. When you’re ready to get back in to a workout routine, there’s no need to start with an Olympic sprinting drill. You can jump right in to your previous routine, just back off the intensity a little. Take a rest day in between the first few workouts after starting back up. Your body will thank you for it. There’s plenty of time to push yourself to your limits when you’re 100% recovered. Not setting a new PR doesn’t make you weak. Heck, you’re back out there working out even though you’re not at your best. Just think about what that will do for you when you are.

6. Listen to your body. This is the part I’m really bad at. I have a tendency to over-do it, which never turns out well for me. If you start feeling light-headed or nauseous during a workout, either back off and take it easy, or just stop. Walking out of my boxing class early was an ego-crusher, but it was something that needed to be done. My pride was a little injured, but I was the better off for it. It’s not going anywhere, and the better I am, the better I can be in class. This can apply to any exercise routine or workout. Your body knows best so it’s a good idea to listen to it.

7. Take extra steps. Little things can make a big difference when you’re working out. Make sure to eat and drink plenty of water before you get started. Sanitize any exercise equipment before and after you use it. I know you always wipe off your equipment after you’re done, but not everyone does. If you go to a gym, they are very germy places. Protect yourself by taking one extra minute to wipe those germs off. Additionally, wash your hand after working out as well.

These may seem like no-brainer tips, but I also know my cold medicine concoction had me not exactly thinking very clearly. Reminders never hurt anyone. As we transition in to Spring and Summer, our bodies and immune systems can take a beating and put a damper on our workout routines. Make sure you get back on your feet in a healthy, body-beneficial way.

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