Siobhan Byrne: Getting back on track after an illness
Slow and steady is the best approach to training following a break
There have never been truer words than 'your health is your wealth'. And sometimes we can forget this until we are struck down with an illness. Over the next two weeks we are going to look at how to build yourself back up and resume exercising safely.
Firstly, we all know the importance of consulting your doctor before taking on any new exercise plan and this is especially important after an illness.
Remember, if you have had a break from training it will take time and consistency with rest periods and healthy eating to help get back to a good level of fitness, so don't be disheartened if you feel short of breath and the simplest of tasks is hard going. A slow, steady build will develop your fitness and energy levels and help wake up the muscles. The worst thing that you can do is go too hard at it and find yourself injured or feeling overexerted.
You may not be ready to hit the gym, so start with a light bit of walking, progressing over a few weeks to a brisk walk. Start easy and build yourself up gradually. You may feel a little tired, go at your speed to start and don't feel pressured to have to keep up. As we all know, exercising releases endorphins, which will make you feel good and will help to give you more energy.
Get consistent with what you are doing. Plan out a week including the days that you are going to exercise. Consistency is the key to getting back on track.
Don't forget your rest days. Rest days that allow the body to recover are important for everyone, whether you are an athlete or are just getting back to it after an illness.
Help your body recover by eating a balanced, clean diet full of nutrients. Processed foods and sugars won't be of any great benefit to your training and can leave you with energy spikes, making you craving more sugary food to get that high again.
Build on your exercise plan slowly. When you are ready, start with some basic home exercises that will work all muscle groups. Take it easy and make sure you are warmed up first. Look at some compound exercises, like squats and press-ups on knees to help reawaken the muscles.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week
Reawaken the muscles
1/ Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
2/ Lower your body towards the floor, sending your hips back and down and bending your knees.
3/ Push through your heels to return to the start position, keeping your back flat throughout.
1/ Start on knees or toes with your hands under your chest and the back flat in plank position.
2/ Lower yourself to the ground then back to the start position. Keep the back flat throughout.
1/ Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms stretched out overhead.
2/ Then raise the upper body and legs together, about 15 inches off the floor, hold briefly and then return to the start position by lowering yourself back to the floor.
1/ Start by lying on your elbows and forearms and on your toes, with your body straight, with hips and back in line and tummy tucked in, hold that position in place for 15-30 seconds then slowly rest down.
Health & Living