Sam Wood reveals when to get back into exercise after the flu


If you were struck down with the cold and flu, you are not alone. Research conducted by CODRAL revealed that 7.3 million Aussies called in sick due to lack of energy this year. Man flu struck particularly hard, with 50 per cent of men taking at least one day off work as opposed to 43 percent of women.

For me personally, the lack of energy is what gets me the most and with a growing business and three beautiful girls, I can’t afford to be down and out for too long. Knowing when and how to ease back into exercise after illness is key to ensuring you don’t prolong your sickness or make things worse.

1. First things first, do the symptom test

When it comes to working out with a cold and flu, use the neck rule: if your symptoms are above the neck (runny/blocked nose) then you should be right to exercise. Anything that’s affecting your breathing or your chest should be taken more seriously. In that instance, if you’re still up for it, swap your regular training for something lower intensity like a walk or yoga session.

2. Recover first, move later

Recovery should always be your priority. Your body works damn hard day in, day out, just to function properly so you can imagine how hard it has to work to fight off illness. Overexerting yourself will only delay your recovery as it adds unnecessary extra stress for your body. Keep your workouts light or embrace some extra Netflix time.

3. Eat for immunity

Don’t underestimate the role food plays in your immunity. Good immunity helps to keep your energy levels up so make sure your diet is balanced with fresh fruit, vegetables and healthy fats. Foods that are rich in vitamin C are a bonus – cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, berries and broccoli are my go-tos. If you’re too sick to think about solids, veggie heavy soups and broths are an excellent choice.

4. Ease back into your workouts

If you’ve been bedridden or smashing cold and flu’s like they’re going out of fashion, you don’t need to be cross-fitting the moment your nose stops running. Aside from the fact that you could still be contagious, you don’t want to overwhelm your body by going gung-ho in your first workout. I would start by doing about 60-70 per cent of what you were doing before you got sick. Keeping your exertion that little bit lower will ensure you don’t burn out and you’ll be back to your regular sessions in no time.

Put simply, I definitely think it’s better to reduce your intensity and allow your body to recover rather than push through and burn out. Take it slow, listen to your body and know that you’ll be back smashing it in no time.

Want to kick your cold to the curb? Try my Kung-flu fighting chicken soup.

Sam Wood is an ambassador for CODRAL. Follow him on Instagram @samjameswood.

For more on this topic, a GP shares her ultimate guide for fighting sickness. Plus, these are the very bizarre and science-backed ways you can double your immunity (and they include having sex, sipping on beer, and hugging dog).

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