The Summer Plague hit my home 2 ½ weeks ago and is still lingering. It started with Reece, moved on to Isaac, and then (hit way below the belt and) struck Vera. I’m going to tell you what, a baby with a 104+ fever for 5 days straight is no body’s idea of a good time. Though, by sheer strength and resolve luck, I managed to dodge the nasty thing.
Exercise is my super effective coping mechanism during times where the household seems out of control. It’s not a cure all, but it sure helps me feel like in the midst of all the sickness in my house, I am taking care of myself.
I enjoyed some solid, head-clearing, perspective-giving workouts while the plague took its time going through the house one by one. But, towards the middle of last week, the plague’s down and dirty cousin attacked me and brought it tough. My dose included: an eyelid infection (it’s just as pretty as you imagine it to be), an allergic reaction to an antibiotic, a fever, an achy body, a sore throat, an ear ache, two visits to the doctor, and three trips to the pharmacy. Ibuprofen might as well be my closest known relative.
Once I joined the ranks, I had to be smart about when to/not to workout, regardless of how much I was longing for the release. My dad is a lifelong runner and athlete. He always advised me of these things:
- If you have a tired mind, you can exercise.
- If you have symptoms above the neck (minor ones), you can exercise.
- If you feel achy or have whole body symptoms (i.e. flu, fever, etc.), take a rest until you feel better.
I adopted those principles and added a few others to my list:
- In many cases, exercise helps me feel better and leaves me feeling more energetic than I began.
- Exercise can take the edge off of first trimester morning sickness and sluggishness. Remind me of that next time around, okay?
- I can adapt the intensity of my regular routine if I am not feeling 100%. This may help me stay in the game and not completely rule out exercise.
- Listen to my body. Don’t be stupid.
I have put these principles to the test over the course of the past two weeks and they have not failed me. Here are a few examples:
The hold up: I get a not-so-solid four hours of sleep because I’m up with a sick toddler and/or baby repeatedly throughout the night.
The decision: I exercise first thing in the morning because it gives me energy, a boost of motivation, and acts as a reminder that I still have myself to take care of too.
Jesi and I letting it all out in BodyCombat.
Fresh air and the ocean do wonders to revive even the smallest of bodies.
The hold up: I have plans to meet friends at a 5:30am spin class. I wake up with my eye swollen shut.
The decision: I forgo the spin class for fear of being THAT girl who infects a crowded, sweaty group of unsuspecting gym rats with pink eye. With no other symptoms, I instead put on sunglasses and go for a run outside.
The hold up: My alarm is set for a Sunday morning Barry’s Bootcamp class with one of my favorite instructors. I wake in the middle of the night Saturday with a fever and achy body.
The decision: I turn the workout alarm off and sleep until 9:30am (thanks to my wonderful husband).
The hold up: I am supposed to go to a get together at my husband’s office. A few hours before, I have an allergic reaction to some new antibiotics. I end up with giant, red face, which really complements my already red and swollen left eye. I am embarrassed and feel like a wreck.
The decision: I get over myself, pat Benadryl cream on my face, wear purple pants to divert attention downward, and turn up the charm. The tricky part is not explaining my giant face and lazy eye to everyone I meet. (Sure, this doesn’t qualify as exercise, but thought I would share anyways.)
The hold up: It is one of the best days of summer, my family and I want to hit the beach. I have a fever and feel like crud. For clarification sake, going to the beach with a toddler and crawling baby is at the very least a cardio workout.
The decision: I alternate Ibuprofen and Tylenol every four hours, put on a bikini and go. Totally worth it, as documented below.
So, here I am on day three of no exercise and still feel crummy. I will continue to check myself daily against my list of do/do not exercise principles. I am really looking forward to my workout plans on Wednesday with my little brother. I am crossing all fingers that I’ll be ready for it in 48 hours!
What are your guidelines for when to/not to exercise? Any tips on how to stay healthy when you are in a house of sick kids and family members?