It happens to all of us. We get sick sometimes, or worse, hurt. Whether you just got diagnosed with COVID-19 or you have a sore lower back from gardening, you might be worried that the illness or injury will derail your progress toward your health and fitness goals. Don’t worry! Maintaining healthy habits lasts a lifetime. One tiny setback will not ruin everything, I promise.
What to do if You Get Sick
If you get sick, rest! Make sure you get enough sleep and do everything you can to limit your activities and reduce your schedule. Find other people to help alleviate some of your responsibilities, if you can, or let things go that can be let go. Don’t try to exercise, especially if you have a fever or infection. In that case, DON’T exercise. But, if you have a cold or allergies, light activity is OK and might help you recover more quickly. Don’t overdo it. Also, limit your resistance training or take a break altogether. You will not lose that hard-earned muscle. Just make sure you are eating healthy, whole foods and continuing to prioritize protein and you will be fine. Your body will bounce right back when you jump into the gym again. If you are a type A crazy fitness fanatic like me, use your illness as an excuse to rest. Everybody needs to take a break once in a while! Don’t stress about missing your Peloton ride or yoga class. Just relax, rest, and recover.
What to do if You Get Hurt
Did you overdo it playing basketball with your kids? Hurt your back gardening? Sleep on your neck wrong? It happens. Make sure you stop training and wait to heal. There is nothing worse than being in pain and exercising could make it more severe and/or it could take longer to recover. Depending on your injury, you may need to incorporate light activity to help heal. For example, if you have a stiff back from horseback riding, getting up every once in a while is critical to helping your strained muscles relax and heal. In the case of a severe injury, follow your doctor’s advice as far as activity is concerned. Above all, as is the case with illness, you will NOT lose your gains. If you are unable to do lower body movements due to injury, you may still be able to work on your upper body and that signal will extend to the whole body. Whatever you lose will come back quickly once you resume normal training.
It can be extremely frustrating to be sick or hurt when all you want to do is exercise! But, it’s not the end of the world and it will be fine. Use the time to rest and plan your return to normal activity. Eat healthy, and when you feel better, get after your goals with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.