I've been sick for the past week. And it's been quite a few years since I've come down with something, so it took something really strong to bring my immune system down, but it finally happened. For the week prior to this, we had work done on our house that had me sleep deprived for an extended period of time. This really ran down my immune system and left me susceptible to illness. It sounds counterintuitive (and probably crazy to some too), but the one thing that really helped me throughout my sickness was continuing to work out. I know, you're always told to get plenty of rest and not overexert yourself so you make your body feel worse and even sicker, right? But it's not about overdoing it; it's about doing something instead of absolutely nothing. There's still plenty of lying around time too, don't worry. Plus I drank over a gallon of water for the past 3 days to stay hydrated and keep my nose and throat from getting too dry. And though it scared me a little to drink so much, I didn't even pee more frequently than usual, so I know my body really needed and fully utilized that fluid. Crazy! I'll talk more below about why exercising through sickness is so helpful and worth doing, but in the meantime, we finally have a new workout to do! Come get your lower body burn on with me...
These are my picks for working out with me. For this workout you need 1 dumbbell and a kettlebell, but I have provided modifications in the workout breakdown below for if you want to take it easier or don't have access to weights.
This workout has a buy in of 4 minutes of Tabata burpees and then 2 rounds of 3 different exercise combinations.
4 minutes Tabata burpees (competition)
2 rounds of:
8 sets - 2 weighted pistol squats + jump tuck
20 (on each side) kettlebell backward lunge pass under
6 sets - 4 jump lunges + 3 jump squats
-If you can't do burpees, you can instead step or jump your feet into plank, then step or jump your feet back to your hands and jump up.
-If you can't do weighted pistol squats, instead do pistol squats without any added weight; they're plenty tough on their own! If you can't do pistols, instead go as far down as you can holding onto a wall or chair, lower yourself to sit back onto a chair, or do my personal favorite: the roll back to pistol.
-If you can't do the kettlebell backward lunge pass under, instead lunge backward and pass a dumbbell underneath your leg. If you have no weights, you can instead lunge backward without any additional weight, and increase the reps to 30 or 40 on each side for added burn.
-If you can't do jump lunges and jump squats, instead do bodyweight lunges and squats without jumping, and increase the number of sets to 10.
This workout took just over 20 minutes to complete, including the buy in. Let me know how long it takes you and how much you're feeling the burn ;D
I was still sick when I filmed this workout (and even as I type this post), but I felt amazing while completing it. Working out even on the worst days of my sickness never felt like it was too draining or exhausting of an activity; it truly made me feel better the entire time I was doing it, as well as after I finished. Now this won't always be the case. If you have an upset stomach, the flu, or any other illness that affects you below the neck, then exercise isn't recommended. Only you know your body though; if you feel up to some light activity, then you should absolutely go for it. But if you're in the throes of a horrible illness, rest, don't push yourself to do anything high intensity. You will most likely be able to get back at it in a few days with proper rest. Let your body do its thing, it will heal you if you give it the tools to do so. But as long as you don't have a fever, and are dealing with a cold or any other type of upper respiratory infection, give exercise a go!
You don't have to go crazy. If you're not up to high intensity activity, some yoga or other lower intensity activity is just as good. Just get your body moving and the blood flowing. For a cold especially, this is so helpful in breaking up mucus that may be trapped in your sinuses, or worse, in your throat/lungs. It's the worst, I know, I've been living it. But exercise helps open up the nose so you can breathe easier, and helps you more easily expel any that's left behind. Gross, sorry, but if you've ever been sick before (and I'm pretty sure most of us have) then you know what I'm talking about. It's a great feeling to start moving around and realize you can breathe so much more easily, and that you're not reaching for the tissues as frequently. A break from blowing your nose and coughing your lungs out is so welcomed, am I right? Plus exercising regularly greatly boosts your immunity, so continuing to keep it up when you do get sick just helps keep your immunity kicking ass, and you bouncing back so much faster. There have been one or two times in the past when I was sick and I got more relaxed about working out and eating healthy, and it seriously took me twice as long for my symptoms to improve and for me to start feeling better. Never again.
My policy is to always just do at least a little something, and then you can get back to resting or whatever else you need to be doing. Exercise never has to ruin or entirely disrupt and mess up your whole day, and it shouldn't! Find what works for you, even if it's just walking around the block a few times. Doing something is always better than doing nothing, and we all have to start somewhere.
Leave me a comment if you want to talk more about this or if you have any questions, or come see us over in the Fit Club. Haven't joined yet? Why not?! Do you not want to digitally hang out with me? :(
If you need help with picking out healthy foods when you shop, be sure to grab the Free Nutrition Facts Checklist I've put together. Have a great week, guys. I hope you enjoy the new workout, let me know. There's plenty more where this came from, stick with me :)
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Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach.
Lover of tiny animals and objects. BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, studying for DTR. Plant-based.