Illness & Exercise: A Personal Trainer's Guide

As a personal trainer one question i get asked quite often is whether to exercise when not well?
We are approaching the winter months and this is when illness is on the increase, so let me show you the way to a quicker recovery.

Firstly during the acute stages of illness you should NOT DO ANYTHING! Allow your body to recover and fight the early stages of the sickness. You shouldn't think about exercise until after a couple of days when the symptoms begin to reduce and you feel better but still not 100%..

The exercise must be light. If you attempt a vigorous training routine your body will not thank you and make you pay for it. Reason for this comes down to a part of the nervous system which controls your stress response. Your immune system will be over worked trying to fight the infection and placing the body in a highly intense training session will only place great stress on the already depleted immune and cell function.

Here's how to approach it. Firstly, when you feel slightly better look at doing a training session but only up to 50% of your normal intensity and for only half the time. Take a day off the following day. This will help stimulate your vital organ functions without placing a great strain on the body.

After a couple of days try a deep relaxation session, this can be a tai-chi class or some form of meditation session.. By completely relaxing the body allows a part of your autonic nervous system to enter an anabolic state which promotes tissue, cell and immune function. Try to avoid some forms of yoga that are quite intense, although yoga is good it can also be very demanding on the body. If you get stuck with relaxation exercises then visit our website and one of our trainers will help you.

Speed up your recovery process by booking an Aromatherapy massage the next day.. The massage helps flush the lymphatic system allowing the illness to pass through the lymphatic nodes.

A couple of days later attempt another exercise, this time increase the intensity level to 75% of normal routine. For the next two training sessions keep the same intensity and increase the time to 80%.

Rest for 2 days if you feel 100% take your session to a higher level up to 90% and if the next day you feel fine, then it is time to return to normal..

It is advisable to drink plenty of water throughout the recovery process and make sure your are taking plenty of vitamins and minerals from fruit and veg.

Follow this and you should have rid of that nasty illness after 10 days and be back on top form. If your symptoms don't change always seek medical advice.

Lewis Bailey is a renowned personal trainer with a wealth of experience and qualification, helping many individuals with numerous health problems and fitness goals. He can help every person he sees through utilising a holistic approach to training clients. For more information visit


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