3 Tips For Getting Back on the Fitness Wagon After Illness

Earlier this month, my daughter was diagnosed with strep throat. Last Sunday afternoon, my throat began to scratch. Last Sunday night, my son started hacking. My husband and I gave each other that “this will be a fun parenting time” look, and entered the week. Despite the fact that we are all generally healthy, before the week was over, we had added a sinus infection, another strep infection and a run-of-the-mill (thank God!) cold.

Yesterday, even though I'm not 100%, I returned to the track for my first run since Sunday. And I feel great! Also yesterday, Jill Gibbs suggested that I write a post on how to get back on the fitness track after an illness. I'm far from an authority as you know, but I do have some valuable tips and experiences to share.

  1. Make fitness a habit. If you are in the habit of exercising, you will miss it while you're sick, and you'll look forward to returning. An important factor in my quick rebound is that I had an incentive to get back on track because working out had become a part of my “normal,” and I wanted my “normal” back.
  2. Have support and accountability systems in place. My husband is my greatest cheerleader. He was the last one of us to get sick, so he waited on us hand and foot all week long. (He finally broke down on Friday.)

    My other invaluable fitness support comes from my #FitCEOs Twitter friends, including @blackpearlbotan, @kbstudio, @jenngivler, @bathbodysupply, @brambleberry and @ and my WorkOut Wednesday FaceBook buddies. This support system didn't let up, even when I was flat on my back. I stayed in touch with them and they with me. I continued to read about their fitness efforts even when I couldn't work out. Seeing their continued commitment made me excited to join them again when I became well.

    Importantly, this support system provides built-in accountability, which makes it even more valuable.

  3. Track your progress. On March 1, I started wearing a pedometer. I also taped the first Indie Business Radio Show focused exclusively on fitness. My guest that day was fitness expert Kimberly Linton. (Listen to the audio recording of my interview with Kimberly here.)

    The pedometer provides me with an objective measure of my progress. The fitness-focused show, the first of many, was a platform for me to learn along with my listeners. (My next fitness show will feature Laura McClain, marathon runner and editor of Run Momma Run News Blog, on April 5. Get the show details here.)

    According to Kimberly and other fitness experts, 10,000 daily steps is the minimum to maintain an active lifestyle. More are needed if you want to lose weight as I do.

    On March 1, I took 2,789 steps.
    On March 2, I took 8,362 steps.
    On March 7, I took 10,015 steps.
    On March 13, the day before I got sick, I took 12,458 steps.
    Yesterday, my first day back, I took 8,876 steps.

    As you can see, a pedometer helps me keep track of my progress while Twitter and FaceBook make it more fun do to so. Reviewing my progress while I was ill kept me motivated and determined to return as soon as my body had healed. I wanted to get back out there and beat my records and set some more!

    While I'm not yet completely well, yesterday was my first day back, with 8,876 steps. It's amazing how quickly this illness set me back, but I'm looking forward to returning to 12,000+ steps a day, and then surpassing that.

I have a long way to go on my fitness journey. In fact, even when I reach my goal weight, I will still have a long way to go because fitness is a lifetime thing. It's not something I can focus on, reach the goal, and then abandon. I guess there's really nothing like that anyway, is there?

I feel good about my return to “exer-preneurship.” and hope these tips help you. Feel free to share them with a friend if you'd like.

Question: What did I miss? Will you share some tips for getting back on the fitness wagon after illness?


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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.