Are you recovering from an illness and looking forward to getting back into the gym? Here are tips for resuming workouts after getting sick.

Setbacks are part of life, yet they’re especially disappointing at the gym. Progress when working out is slow to begin with, but after an illness, it can be even slower.

How can you start resuming workouts if you’re not quite feeling back to normal yet? With the right methods, you can find a healthy way to get back in shape without losing too much momentum.

Here are 7 tips for starting back up at the gym after being sick.

  1. Start Slow

If you’re looking for a fast sickness recovery plan, you can stop now. It’s important to take care of your body and start slow as you get back to working out. If you try to continue the same intensity of workouts as you were doing before your illness, you’ll have a very hard time.

Your body could even get sick again so soon after recovering if you don’t ease back into your workout routine. Take a look at where you were a week or two before you came down with the flu and try those workouts again. Experts at recommend scheduling some easy cross-training workouts like short sessions on an elliptical trainer or a stationary bike.

  1. Develop a Routine

Having a plan is half the battle.

Take some time to sit down and make a weekly workout schedule to help you get back on track. When you have it down on paper, it’s easier to see how your small, incremental steps will turn into real progress.

Research shows that making lists also breeds creativity. If your workout routine seemed like you were stuck in a rut before, then this minor step back may actually help you get ahead. You might be able to get creative with your aerobic dance moves or invent a new super set program for your weight lifting regime.

  1. Don’t Forget to Drink

Having lots of water is important for self-care. Staying hydrated during exercise is only half the battle, though. Most of your hydration practice happens before and after your exercise routine, rather than during.

During the 24 hours before you head to the gym, make sure to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water. If you’re drinking from 8-ounce glasses, you’ll need 9 and a half glasses to reach your goal.

After you work out, catch up on your hydration to replace the sweat you lost. Start back into your hydration routine to prepare for the next day at the gym.

If you’re having trouble staying hydrated, try these helpful tricks:

  • Carry a water bottle with you everywhere
  • Drink a glass of water before every meal and right after you wake up
  • Track your water consumption with an app or on paper
  • Change up the flavor: infuse fruits and veggies or use calorie-free flavors

Make sure you also limit your intake of dehydrating fluids, like caffeine and alcohol. These will work against your efforts to stay hydrated.

  1. Switch Up Your Activity

If you were focused on one type of workout like strength training before you got sick, maybe taking a different path will help you build your endurance back up.

Switch to some different options, like cardio for example, rather than heading right back to the weights. Your body will appreciate the variety and will thank you later when you’re able to lift longer and harder than you were before.

  1. Nix Resuming Workouts–Instead, Prevent Sickness

The best way to get back to your workout is never to leave it. Preventing sickness is very important, especially at the gym where sweat is a ubiquitous bodily fluid. Wipe down each machine before and after you use it.

In a post-COVID-19 society, you may even want to use hand sanitizer in between machines. Remember to wash your hands with soap after your workout as well. If possible, bring two water bottles, instead of refilling at the communal fountain when your bottle is empty.

Don’t forget your vitamin supplements and immune boosters. Get your flu shot protection during October and November are the months that are most effective. Ask for your vaccine during this time of year to have the most protection throughout the rest of the year.

  1. Set Realistic Expectations

You may expect to be back to your usual routine after 3 or 4 days. Yet most health professionals recommend no strenuous exercise for a week to 10 days after the flu.

If anything makes your breathing labored, you’re supposed to avoid it until you’re fully recovered. That means your intense cardio workouts or your spinning class may have to wait.

Try focusing on strength instead of cardio, which is usually a slower workout that builds endurance. You can also work on your flexibility with yoga routines or pilates. Make sure you have appropriate expectations or you’ll be disappointed in yourself.

  1. Get Lots of Sleep

Sleep is the time when your body does its best work. Letting your body get enough sleep is the same as allowing it to heal up at its fastest pace.

Good sleep hygiene habits include:

  • Allowing yourself time to wind down without screens before bed
  • Quitting caffeine early in the day to allow it to leave your system
  • Adopting relaxing breathing practices or meditation exercises
  • Maintaining a comfortable bedroom temperature
  • Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, with bedtimes and wake-up times

Check out some more sleep tips, including ways to make your bedroom more cozy and conducive to sleeping.

Fit and Fabulous

Getting back to your workout routine is a process, but if you take it slow, you’ll be where you want to be soon enough. The most important thing is to take care of your body and allow it the proper time to recover so you don’t have a relapse or contract an even worse illness.

Remember to develop a plan of action, as well as get good sleep and stay hydrated. It’ll make resuming workouts easier, although preventing sickness is the best course of action.

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