Last Wednesday morning, Regional Manager Jess was hit by a car while riding her bike to see a client. She has a broken tailbone but is, thankfully, on the mend - thanks to the fact that she was wearing a helmet (the police officer on scene told me that if she hadn't been, the outcome would have been very different).
And on a much less-serious note, after spending the day and evening at the hospital with Jess on Wednesday, I (Poul) was down and out for 48 hours with the stomach flu.
It got me thinking about those weeks we all have where things go off the rails - including exercise plans. It can be frustrating when things like injuries and illness gets in the way of your fitness goals, but it happens to the best of us, and it's important to be gentle with yourself when it does. So that's what we're trying to do over here.
Here are some tips if you find yourself recovering from an accident or injury like Jess (or down-and-out with a nasty bug like yours truly).
First and foremost, if you are unwell, REST. It is totally normal and understandable to be worried you'll regress or lose your momentum, but in the grand scheme of things a week (or a few) isn't going to make or break your success. In fact, not resting when you need to can set you back even further. So stay in bed and don't feel guilty for it.
When you should go back to your routine depends entirely on what put you out of commission. In the case of a virus, wait until you have your energy back and are no longer feeling dizzy or weak - usually this is only a few days - then follow the advice below. You will probably find that it only takes a couple of workouts to get back to the stage you were at before falling ill.
In the case of accident or injury, you'll want to consult with your medical experts and take things VERY slowly. If you're out of commission for weeks, like Jess likely will be, you'll want to be very patient and ease back gently.
So how do you re-introduce exercise safely? By scaling back on the intensity. To do this, reduce (or eliminate) resistance, take lots of rests, and start with short workouts, working up to full ones. We recommend a combination of these measures, in most cases and - most importantly - that you be gentle with yourself and listen to your body.
Thanks to all those who have sent best wishes to Jess. At the moment she is focused on her recovery, and isn't able to meet with clients due to her mobility issues. But she's working hard behind the scenes to make sure her clients are on track and taken care of. We wish her all the best for a speedy recovery!
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 16 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!