fitness · health · motivation

Back at it after almost a month away: Rebuilding after illness

When I started the “fittest by fifty” project I didn’t count on a very nasty virus knocking me out of commission for nearly a month in year 1. I did some work related traveling to New Orleans for the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association meeting and then to Tucson, Arizona for a workshop at the Freedom Center at the University of Arizona. Terrific, productive trips but by the time I got off the plane to come home from trip two, I knew I was sick. Sore throat, etc but worst of all was a wracking cough that kept me up most nights.

Several visits to urgent care and my family doctor were the big highlights and outings in the weeks that followed. Otherwise my exercise was limited to interval bouts of coughing and shuffling between bed and the sofa. Ugh. I was so coughing so hard I began to understand how pneumonia might kill older people.

The good news is that I’m on the road to recovery. I’m feeling better, coughing less, and I’m starting to get bored about the house. Phew.

My recovery involved first working at my laptop in our comfy chair, then sitting at my desk, and now I’m back at my standing desk.

Now my task is getting fit again and recovering what I lost due to illness. Good thing I like a challenge!

What do I say to myself to get back at it after a good chunk of time curled up on the sofa?

Here’s a few things:

First, I’m glad it’s winter. I remind myself of my outdoor exercising friends who pretty much give up moving in the dead of Canadian winter. I won’t be alone coming back after time spent in a slump.

Second, I remember the advice I give inactive beginners. Start where you are and go from there. There is no need to work out alone until I’m fit enough to rejoin my communities of very fit people. And I remind myself of the things I learn while working out with others.

Third, I check my ego at the door of the gym, beside the rowing machine, at the edge of the mat at the dojo. I’m not where I was a month ago and that’s okay. Acceptance makes a difference.

Fourth, I remind myself that it’s fun. I’ve missed my physical activities. I’ve missed my fitness friends. And I’m really happy to be well enough to be back at it. Happiness outweighs the nervousness.

Fifth, while I’ve been sick I’ve focused a lot on nutrition. When you don’t feel like eating every calories has to count. That’s been a productive and useful focus. My goal is to be a better intuitive eater, as Tracy recommends, and trust my instincts more but while sick I haven’t been eating intuitively. My inclinations while sick are for tea, toast, and orange juice and not much else. So it’s been work to keep eating protein and veggies.

This week I went back to Aikido, today soccer, next week CrossFit, rowing, riding, running, and swimming.

And yes, I’ll take it easy. I won’t be working out twice a day for a little while at least. I will make sure that I get enough sleep. And I will be taking rest days.

Wish me luck.

How do you handle coming back to exercise after illness?

Here’s some helpful advice here.

How to manage the return to training after illness

Getting back to the gym after being sick

6 thoughts on “Back at it after almost a month away: Rebuilding after illness

  1. I am lucky that I haven’t been ill enough to have to take time off from exercise. However from time to time I do take a month off just because laziness/family life/work/ (delete as appropriate)
    Getting back into it can be hard but also because you start seeing results again (even if they are previous results!) it can be motivating and of course you start getting the exercise high again 🙂
    Good Luck!

  2. I’m just coming back from a bout of lurgy myself. I had great difficulty eating/swallowing while ill, so my meals were mostly frozen fruit blended with pure cream (a healthier alternative to ice cream, I’ll admit, but still not ideal). I’m feeling fat and sluggish, but trying to take it one step at a time. Consulted my doc about the best way to ease back into it, and have a very strict schedule I’m determined to stick to (I have a tendency to go “bull at a gate” and overdo it and knacker myself). Best of luck – you’re not alone! 🙂

    1. I had my share of fruit smoothies too these past few weeks. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  3. Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are feeling better. I feel fortunate in that I seem to be getting over this sinus infection fairly quickly but still, it is so frustrating to be unable to do any of the things you love to do. Well, I mean, I love laying around in bed, but not when I have no other choice and not when it’s for days on end. Anyway, I’m glad you are back at it.

    1. Yes, soccer on the weekend, one night out dancing, aikido on Monday. Feels great to be active again.

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