Training & working out when injured or ill

Training when you’re not 100% can lead to you feeling worse, and for more gain in the long term it is best not to train.
When you’re in the zone it feel really difficult to miss a gym session for fear of losing momentum, but it is really important to listen to your body and give it a break in order to recover energy levels.

Injury, illness, and life happens. How you handle these things makes all the difference. And that doesn't necessarily mean buckling down and charging forward more intensely; it can also mean slowing down and letting yourself heal. Here are my suggestions for getting through a sidelining event.

Depending on the severity of the illness or injury, it may be that your body needs a few days rest and recover, and particularly if your muscles are tight, there are several stretches you can do to help the healing process.

The best way to avoid injury in training is by ensuring that your technique is spot on; regularly massaging your muscles on a foam roller; paying attention to your mobility stretches and making sure you don’t miss a warmup or cool down when training. Many people make the mistake of compromising their technique in favour of training super hard and lifting as much as possible. This will lead to injury down the line, so warming up the muscles and focusing on mobility in your weaker areas will be key in injury prevention. 

If you are fairly new to exercise, or you have recently changed your regular program, it is normal to feel muscle soreness, particularly in the 24 - 72 hour window after training. This is known as Delayed Onset of Muscular Soreness (DOMS) and can leave your muscles feeling tender and sore to touch. This feeling is normal and will only be bad after one or two workouts, but any pain that lasts for more than 3-4 days may be something more severe and maybe get checked out. So rest and recovery is key here! 

Sleep. An often-overlooked aspect is sleeping, you really need to have at least 7 hours a night. Your body needs the right amount of time and space to recover, especially if you’re training hard and working too. Sleep is crucial to achieving your best results in any programme. 

Focus on nutrition 
While tough workouts are temporarily out, it's especially important to make sure you're eating healthily. It's important for your healing and eating well while you're sidelined can help you avoid putting on extra weight while you are laid up.
You are NOT lazy and this won't last forever
Here's something to tackle from the get-go, no matter what has sidelined your activity — there is a very big difference in between skipping workouts because you "don't feel like it" and because you've got an injury/illness or doctor's orders. Taking a break because you are ill or injured is not lazy and it's not something you should allow yourself to feel any guilt over whatsoever. You have to do what's best for your health & body, and sometimes rest is best. If you rest right the first time, you can sometimes cut down on your healing time, but if you deny yourself the chance to heal properly, you may find that your initial setback is a gift that keeps on giving.
Body changes and the feeling of losing progress
If you make healthy food choices while you're healing, you may be surprised at how relatively little of a change even a month or two of inactivity can have on your weight and body fat. Inactivity plus poor food choices will unfortunately add up a lot more quickly But, whether your body weight, composition, and capabilities change while you're inactive, either way, there's no reason to freak out. So, if you start to feel yourself sliding, just remind yourself that a cool, calm head is much more likely to make healthy decisions than one that has already talked itself into failing. Soon, when you are healed, you will return to your workouts and your normal routines and your body weight, strength, and composition will also return to normal.
Jump back in - slowly, and carefully
When you're coming back from a long break, you should basically not assume anything about your body or it's capabilities. Listen to the messages that your body sends. Modify exercises, intensity, length, range of motion, etc. as you need to. It won't help to rush anything, and, in the end, the only real goal is good health. What could be more important than investing in your own health?

Have you ever gone through a prolonged, forced rest from exercise? How did you cope?

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