Becoming healthy again: fitness when you’re sick

By Jason Hill

HEALTHY ROOTS – For those leading a healthy lifestyle and for those looking to start down the path of focused health and wellness; the question of what to do when you’re sick seems to always pop up. Some people try to sweat away their sicknesses while others try and hunker down and wait them out.

What’s the best way? How do I make it back to the way I felt before I got sick? Luckily, we’ve got some answers for you, as we take a look at how your body responds during sickness.

The main thing to consider is that most of our immune response comes from the great buffering zone of our digestive system. When you consider how much protection this system gives us from being sick it’s a wonder why more people don’t take better care of this important barrier for coughs and colds.

A virus has to make it through the non-hospitable journey through our mouths to our intestines, and at every stop, they encounter resistant enzymes and bacteria that all try to eliminate the invaders before they make it to absorption in our bloodstream. Normally people would cringe at the thought of bacteria in our bodies, but these helpful and necessary companions we all carry are one of the main sources of defence that protect us from common illnesses.

This outlines one of the trickiest and non-intuitive parts about becoming sick. That diet effects your immune response a great deal but your body doesn’t encourage and response the way it should to ensure you recover as fast as possible. The person who eats a poor and infrequent diet is the not only the most likely to get sick, but also stay sick. As infection persists, the amount of nutrients you can readily absorb from the foods you eat decreases drastically, yet at the same time, the body’s desire to eat is also drastically decreased. This can lead to some confusing practices in order to try and overcome sickness.

With such poor absorption during your sickness, it’s all the more important to make healthy food choices to speed up recovery and boost immune response to make sure you’re bouncing back to the lifestyle you want to lead. Plenty of whole food options and vitamins should be playing a pivotal role in your recovery before the use of medications, and we’ve got some of the most helpful listed here.

Lastly we have our checklist, in order of importance, to list how you can stay healthy or get back to being healthy in regards to sickness. And for those looking to try and maintain their fit lifestyle, we’re sorry to say that working out is one of the last things you should be doing while you’re sick. Working out requires energy and nutrients, both of which are at a deficit when you are sick, but also are harder to increase during that same illness. Our solution: rest easy! Take a break and eat smart, and we’ll see you back in the gym in no time!

Jason Hill has a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS)-NSCA. He is also Head Trainer at Pro-Fit Health Club on Six Nations. You can hear Jason talk more about getting fit on his weekly radio program, ‘The Pro-Show’ on Jukasa Radio 93.5FM or listen live online at every Thursday evening from 7 to 8p.m.

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