In Sickness and in Health

This week a nasty cough and overwhelming fatigue has knocked me and my family for six! We are not accustomed to being sick, and it took some time to be overwhelmed, but overwhelmed we were – daytime naps, 13hrs a night in bed, and not a lot of food except oranges and pineapples! It certainly made me appreciate my health!

It was impossible to exercise, but with two dogs, i had little choice but to bundle up my daughter into a pram, and take a slow walk everyday with the dogs to ensure they didn’t tear the house up. Although tiring, there are a couple of benefits to this:

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  • Elevated core temperature – which works like a light fever to help fight the sickness
  • Change of scene – refreshes one’s attitude (and my daughter’s!)
  • Increases circulation – again, boosting your circulation can help fight sickness

I say to clients regularly, “when you’re sick, you’re sick”. Basically this means you have to respond to what your body is telling you, regardless of what your head wants. However there are grades of activity, and you can modify your routine to match your daily variations in health. This variation works fantastically when you listen to your body, that is; go hard when you’re 100% and take it easier as your health declines.

However it is a disaster if you do not listen to your body (not your head). One of two things usually happen:

  1. You “push though” – because you think you’re just being a wuss, and you’re not really run down. This can result in over training, increased sickness, increased injury, and general decline in wellbeing.
  2. You never push hard enough – because there is always an excuse not to. ie. you listen to your head and excuses, rather than run a mental body scan and train according to what your body is capable of. This will never see a result. It will just be routine.

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The right mix is hard to find, and if you’d asked me earlier this week, i probably would have said the walks were exhausting. I did have the luxury of maternity leave, in order to crash out during the day, which is not possible for everyone. However i do feel that my meandering walks have contributed to my relatively quick recovery.

Some tips for getting the mix right:

  • Be honest with yourself – see an excuse for what it is. Understand if it’s your head that is tired or your body.
  • Think physical – i call this a “mental scan”, where you check your head down to your toes and see how you feel physically.
  • Be kind to yourself – if you’re sick you’re sick, back off.

Good luck and happy training!

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