Whether you have been sidelined by a cold or the dreaded stomach flu, sickness can put the brakes on your workout routine. While it may not be easy to bounce right back into the gym after an unexpected sick break, you can ease your into your regular routine once you are feeling up to speed. However, before you hit the gym hard and heavy, make sure you give yourself as many days as you were out to get back into the groove. DIAGNOSIS: Chest cold or bronchitis
EXPECTED TIME OFF: Five to fourteen days
OUTLOOK: The after-effects of any upper respiratory infection can belabor breathing, so a few miles on the treadmill might feel like a marathon. To fight off that burning chest feeling, limit your workouts to half the time than you are used to and stick to a slower pace or lower level until your cough is cleared up. DIAGNOSIS: Sinus infection or head cold
EXPECTED TIME OFF: Three to nine days
OUTLOOK: When your head feels like its stuffed with cotton balls and your body is aching from head to toe, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. But once you are gym-ready, hold off on high-impact exercises, like running or aerobics, which can jolt or jar your tender head. Instead, go for gentler workouts, like yoga, Pilates, or swimming (but avoid diving, which can aggravate your sore sinuses). DIAGNOSIS: Stomach flu
EXPECTED TIME OFF: Three to seven days
OUTLOOK: Two words to remember when you return to the gym: Stay hydrated. The, ahem, rigors of any stomach bug are bound to sap your body's fluid storage, depleting your muscles of energy. Plus, any weight loss stemming from the inability to keep food down can leave you extra weak. So to replenish your system, sip plenty of water before, during, and after your workout, and recharge with a vitamin and nutrient-rich diet. Currently battling a bug? Experts say that it is safe to keep up moderate exercise with sniffles or a mild cold, but you should definitely take a break if you are suffering with any of the illnesses listed above. Most importantly, listen to your body. If it is telling you to slow down, then put on the brakes and focus on getting better.
For more info on whether to work out when you are sick, check out these links:
Should you run when you are sick? Exercise and illness: Should you exercise when you're sick?