Illness and injury can put a damper on a health and fitness routine, and can sometimes result in complete loss of motivation. Aside from not feeling well, being sick or injured can be frustrating to say the least, especially if you’re someone who works hard to reach certain goals. But illness and injury are not necessarily good excuses to miss your appointment with your trainer, your daily visit to the gym, or your home yoga practice. In fact, if you stop moving you can actually do more harm than good to your body, and as a result, your mind too.
Benefits of Exercising When Sick or Injured
There are benefits to keeping up with some form of a workout routine when suffering a minor illness or injury.
- Sticking to a routine. Maintaining a health routine leads to better success in reaching your goals in the long run. You will be more likely to continue your health and fitness routine once you recover, and will feel less intimidated by the thought of returning. Psychologically and physically, maintaining your routine and schedule is imperative to reaching your health and fitness goals.
- Post-surgery, exercise can help you heal faster. Obviously this depends on the type of surgery, and workouts will need to be modified, but by keeping the body moving you are increasing your chances of a speedy and healthy recovery.
- Help relieve pain. While joint pain and inflammatory injuries make you feel like you don’t want to move, ever, exercising can actually improve symptoms and discomfort.
- Boosts energy. Being sick or injured can deplete your energy levels, causing you to want to remain sedentary, which then makes you more tired…it’s a vicious cycle. Movement can help boost your energy and therefore your ability to recover faster.
When Should You NOT or When Should You STOP?
Obviously if you’re severely sick or injured exercise may not be an option. Additionally, you never want to push your body to the point that your illness or injury is made worse. According to an article by Dr. Mercola, fever, widespread body aches, and vomiting are all good reasons to take it easy. However, if you have a head cold or sinus infection, feel free to keep moving. Likewise, you can speed the healing of minor injuries through movements and stretches, when done the right way. But always listen to your body. High intensity may not be the most effective or beneficial type of exercise when sick or injured, for example. Yoga or lightweight movements may be a better choice. Here are some examples of modified exercises or movements that you can do when sick or injured, being mindful of your body and what your body is going through.
- Lightweight or bodyweight exercises, such as thrusters, air squats, or even push-ups can help the body recover, increase energy, and keep fit even during illness and injury. Modify the amount of weight you use and the number of repetitions to avoid fatigue or pain.
- Different kinds of movements. Using different areas of the body than the areas that are injured is one way to keep moving when injured, without re-traumatizing the body.
- Plank or modified plank is a safe movement for many illnesses or injuries. Depending on how you’re feeling you can get creative with it, or simply hold it for increasing amounts of time.
- Yoga. Meditation is great anytime, no matter the illness and no matter the injury. It’s a great way to stay focused, to reduce stress, and to help the body heal through a positive mind and body. Yoga poses can also be extremely beneficial, as some poses are even designed to help certain areas of the body heal from both sickness and injury. Yoga is a wonderful way to keep the body moving, to relieve pain and stress, and to maintain strength and flexibility while recovering.
If you are fortunate enough to have a well-trained, knowledgeable personal trainer or yoga instructor, you are in good hands! Continue your regular routine with them, and they will be able to modify your sessions around the needs of your body. We often encourage clients to come in, even if just for a meditation practice, in order to keep their routine, their motivation, and to uplift their mood during illness or injury. When clients are unable to come in we offer virtual sessions via Skype.
Interested in a free consult to learn about our personal training or private yoga sessions? Contact us to try our online private training or health transformation consulting services, or if local to Philadelphia, a class or private session!