If you’ve been feeling under the weather, or battling a more serious health complaint, the road to recovery might involve lots of bed rest. However, before you put your feet up you might want to consider the benefits that a fitness plan might bring too, as it seems that some exercise can often help the medicine go down and for you to get back on your feet again.
Prevention is better than cure, as the old adage goes, and when it comes to your health, it seems that exercise can reduce your risks of certain illnesses. A recent study in the International Journal of Cancer revealed that just over 30 minutes of strenuous exercise a day can result in a 20% lower risk of breast cancer in women. Another study suggest that exercising regularly helps reduce acute respiratory infections.
However, for those recovering from ill-health, exercise can also be the perfect tonic for a post-illness exercise pick-me-up, helping sufferers get themselves back to being fighting fit. Whilst you might not feel like exercising, or be limited in what you can do because of a health condition you might want to remind yourself of some of the benefits of exercise which undoubtedly are a boost when you have been unwell:
- Positive thinking – of course thinking upbeat thoughts might not be the answer to alleviating the symptoms of a disabling disease or serious illness, but research at Weill Cornell Medical College proposes that people who use positive affirmations are better able to deal with their recovery and with certain illnesses their activity increased as well. Exercising is a positive action which brings about positive thoughts.
- Reducing stress and tension – according to a UCLA study stress can have an impact on the efficiency of the immune system and exercise can help reduce your cortisol, stress hormone levels.
- Increased energy levels and control fatigue – if you exercise in the right way you are releasing energy which is what the body needs after a serious illness, as well as allowing yourself to be able to deal with tiredness. In chronic fatigue sufferers exercise therapy is often used to treat the symptoms.
- Self-confidence – doing anything that is good for yourself makes you feel good and exercise can help build your self-confidence which might have taken a blow due to an illness or set-back. As you see results your confidence will grow.
- Boost immune system – a study in the Annals of Family Medicine looked at daily exercising for subjects over the age of 50. The results showed that cold and flu infections were reduced by 40-50%. Similar studies suggest exercise is a real boost to fighting illness and this helps with recovery as well.
- Give you a focus and a sense of achievement – as well as the physical symptoms of an illness, it is easy to become despondent when recovery is slow or depressed from feeling so unwell. Having a welcome distraction and a routine is a way of taking your mind away from your illness and the weaknesses in your body and being aware of the miraculous capabilities you still have.
To really benefit from a post-illness exercise boost then you need to keep in mind the following:
- Don’t push yourself too hard.
- Seek medical advice about your condition and what exercise and fitness plan suits you.
- Don’t try and go back to the workout you were doing before you became ill.
- See illness as an opportunity for change and let this be a good motivator for you.
- Listen to your body and stop if you start to feel ill.
- Be patient.
- Do something you enjoy to lift your spirits.
- Set small, achievable targets.
To get back on track after an illness or injury contact us and find out how fitness can help you.