I have had a rough week, my 3 children have been poorly through the week. All of them off school on Tuesday-not fun- then emergency doctor appointments later on in the week, making this week feel pretty stressful. Cancelling sessions for clients due to kids illnesses are few and far between, but when it happens it frustrates me as ‘the blip’ appears and it's my fault! Luckily I have great clients who understand that not only am I a PT, but a mum of 3 and life sometimes gets in the way!
So this week I have been trying my utmost to dodge the sharing of the germs. It's not a fun game at all, I was doing really well until around 9pm on Thursday night when a slight cough crept up on me, then the gravelly throat and by Friday morning I was cancelling my last 2 sessions of the week due to MY illness!
When you get ill it's annoying, well it is for me nowadays. Years ago BC&F (before children and fitness) I used to love sick days. Laying in bed watching rubbish, sleeping and the best part no work!! Now though it is just another thing that frustrates me, as my training schedule is pretty intense it doesn’t leave much for taking sick days off. I have 1 rest day a week and if I get sick after that then I am stuck! Now I could class it as a blip, shrug my shoulders and rest up or I I could ( and do) gauge if I am really sick enough to have to rest or whether I could just switch around my sessions. This is what you call ‘training smart,’ and means that if your feeling particularly unwell and have a high intensity session planned for that day then use your common sense, and put that session on hold and bring out a lower intensity one instead.
For instance, I am lucky today as my session is more of a ‘recovery’ row so won’t put my body under any undue stress. So it has time to recover from my activity yesterday and my sniffly cold too.
As well as switching around your training, you could start taking good old Echinacea tablets at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat. Promoters of echinacea say that the herb encourages the immune system and reduces many of the symptoms of colds, flu and other conditions. Importantly keep to the recommended amount as with all medication. These were the first things I consumed today, so fingers crossed they will work their magic on me ready for my next session tomorrow.
Now, I have given you ideas of how to tackle feeling low but ultimately if your feeling really poorly then rest. If you don’t, things start to slide quickly, believe me! In 2016 I rowed whilst having a bad cough and cold, and boy did I regret it after 2 months off and 3 different antibiotics later. I have learnt my lesson and although it’s aggravating to take enforced rest days it’s important to let your body recover fully. The main rule of thumb of exercising whilst ill is if the illness is neck up your ok to carry on doing light cardio -it may even help unblock your nose - BUT below the neck - STOP and rest. I would also warn about doing any sort of lifting weights whilst ill as it can put more of a strain on you and your body that is already trying to recover from illness so muscle repair is last on its list!!
So even though taking a rest day due to illness may sometimes seem like a cop out, it’s definitely not! Listen to your body, it works hard for you, look after it, help it recover by resting for a few days, if not a full rest give it some low intensity work to do, you will reap the benefits of giving it some love every now and then!