Cold and flu season is in full swing. Runny noses and coughs are seemingly never ending, and are extremely unmotivating when it comes to exercise and healthy eating. To help you through the cold season we’ve created a guide to get through the rough times and reclaim your health.
Do you get an insatiable urge to eat comfort food when you`re sick? You’re not alone. When suffering through sickness it’s easy to lose track of our nutrition and reach for high-carb, high-fat foods. Staying away from pizza, mac and cheese and easy to grab options is really hard, and very tempting because of sheer convenience. Nutrition, however is one of the most important factors in maintaining your fitness level and aiding in recovery from illness. Vital micronutrients and adequate hydration are needed to aid in a speedy recovery.
TIP: try swapping out junk food with a healthy berry smoothie full of antioxidants to aid in recovery.
It is quite intuitive that hydration is key to keeping in shape and keeping your body in a homeostatic state. It is even more important to keep hydrated when ill or sick. Drinking nutrient dense liquids, free from processed sugars and byproducts, is beneficial for both recovery and performance.
Rest and recovery
During this period of time, it may be very tempting to try and push yourself through the cold and get to the gym, especially if you are trying to stay on track and keep up with those new year’s resolutions. It’s important to realize that when you’re exercising you are metabolically taxing your body, or in other words causing damage to the body. In doing so, you can make your cold or flu worse and prolong the recovery process. Take this time to allow your body to adequately recover and make use of the time you have to give your body rest.
Knowing when to come back
When coming back to exercise after illness, it is important to go slow and not get discouraged in your lack of performance. Your body will be weaker from losing weight and muscle mass. It is important to not get discouraged and to realize you can’t undo the work you’ve done over months and years in a few short weeks. Performance and appearance can be affected at first by illness but over time what you’ll notice appearance and performance will return to normal levels. Taking it easy and focusing on slowly easing back into your fitness regimen is optimal in getting back into your routine.
Being sick is far from enjoyable and is sometimes stressful, taxing and frustrating. Learning to take this time to relax and take things slow is both beneficial to one’s body and mind. Eating healthy, nutrient-dense food and spending time to rest and reconnect with one’s body aid in the recovery to ensure that you come back healthy and ready to work.