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How to start training after an illness

How to start training after an illness

No matter how hard we try to avoid it, falling ill is a fact of life. It causes us to pause everything we are doing, disrupting our work and family time and halting our exercise routines. Once we’re better, we want to return to normality as soon as possible, and part of that is working out. Exercising can help you regain the strength needed to recover from illness. It’s essential to listen to your body and not push yourself to do too much too soon.

Severity of Illness

The type of illness you have will play a role in when you can work out. So long as you are fever-free with a very minimal cough, working out with a minor cold can be done. Of course, you should always be mindful of others. If you’re contagious, you should stay away from the gym until after your illness is no longer transmittable. For the flu, for example, this is a window of 3 to 7 days. Viral infections are likely to leave your muscles relatively weak, so utilising your regular workout routine can be more challenging.

Returning to Training After Illness

The symptoms experienced with the illness will affect how soon you can return to working out. It would help if you avoided working out when you have a fever. Before working out, you should ensure that you’re not suffering from other symptoms, such as diarrhoea, severe cough, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and general aches or chill. Always wait for an increase in energy levels and muscular strength. It is best to consult a healthcare professional to ensure you are well enough to train when in doubt.

First Workout After Illness

Your first workout session should be a strength test to see how much of a toll the illness has taken on your body. Good nutrition and a thorough warm-up routine are essential to any exercise, especially when recovering from illness. It is necessary to plan for a shorter and less intense routine than what you are generally used to; taking it at a slower pace will ease you into working out again and make you feel less sick. If you feel dizzy, nauseous or in pain, you should end the workout early or slow the pace. It is advisable to take the next day off, allowing more recovery time.

Your Return to Full Training

If you’re used to a more intensive workout schedule, you should take your time to build that intensity back up. A good rule of thumb to go by is to reduce the intensity of your workouts for two to three days for each day of sickness. For example, if your flu has lasted seven days, you should take 14 to 21 days to build your strength and intensity. It is best to start your workouts in ‘easy mode’, meaning they should last 20 to 30 minutes, increasing subsequent workouts by five to ten minutes each session while increasing the intensity each time. 

Pay close attention to your body, watching for signs that you may be overworking yourself. You may feel a considerable disparity in strength day to day. One day you may feel like you can work out just as intensely as you could before illness, and another may feel like you can’t complete a basic workout – this is totally normal! Adjust your schedule based on how your body feels each day, and try not to get too frustrated.


Unless you stay at home day in and day out, there is a high likelihood that you will be exposed to germs leading to illnesses. Minimising the risk of contracting those illnesses will be the best option. Intense training sessions suppress your immune system for 3 to 72 hours post-workout. This period is known as the “open window”. It is advised to stay hyper-vigilant during this period and implement prevention techniques. So avoid big shops or going out to the pub.


After an intense training session, recovery practices should be implemented to minimise exercise-induced immune suppression. These include good nutrition, good sleeping habits, stress management, and good time management. All of which can lead to an increase in your immune system and decrease your risks post-workout.


Vitamins and minerals are vital for our general health and wellbeing. It is always advisable to get our nutrients from natural sources such as whole foods; however, we may not always be able to get the required amounts each day. That is why supplementing can help us obtain the correct amount needed.

Crash diets

Avoid rapid weight loss and crash diets. The body will spend most of its energy-burning the fat instead of keeping you safe. It is advisable to eat 10% less than your maintenance calories to help you lose weight sustainably and healthily.


Avoid over-training. It can decrease immune system activity as the body is working to recover instead of fighting off any infections or illnesses. It is best to implement rest days and keep your workouts to no more than 1 hour, or if you plan to have an intense session, then no more than 45 minutes is best.

Minimise Exposure

Post-workout, during the “open window” stage, it is advised to avoid or minimise time spent around large crowds. We don’t know who is sick, so it minimises contact as much as possible. If you cannot avoid it, wear a mask in public spaces.


As stated in the recovery section, it is crucial to be able to avoid or manage your stress. Stress is linked to various illnesses like cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and increased blood pressure. Taking time for yourself is vital for your health. Massages and yoga can help, but you should find things away from work that you enjoy doing. It can be as simple as going for a walk in the park. 

Illness can suck, especially when you have a good routine. Take things easy at first, for two or three times the number of days you have taken off due to illness. Try not to get frustrated as these things do happen. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and knowledge is power. The steps we outlined will help to lower the chances of illness reoccurring so soon after recovery. If you need new supplies for when you get back into the gym, we have you covered with Adidas discount codes, where you can purchase discount codes for all products from the Adidas store.


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