Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Question received re: Exercises suitable for when sick with the cold/flu

"What kind of stretches/exercise can you do when you are sick with the flu and a lot of your body hurts? How can you get your blood circulating well without exhausting yourself?"

Good on you for thinking about exercising even when you are sick. It is often so hard to motivate yourself to get up off the bed or couch, or sometimes you just physically are not able to stand up long enough before feeling dizzy or weak.

Here below are some gentle exercises that I would recommend for you to do to keep the blood circulating and prevent your body getting stiff (without causing too much exhaustion). Just select a few that you like and try to do them 3 x a day. I have also written down the sets/reps that I would recommend. Of course, the key is not to over-do, so do what your body can handle!
Ankle pumps

In lying (1-2 sets, 10-15 reps):
  • Ankle pumps
  • Static quads (tightening the thigh muscle with your knee straight)
  • Straight leg raises

In sitting (1-2 sets, 10-15 reps):
  • Seated calf raises
  • Knee bends/extensions
  • Seated leg marches
  • Sit-to-stands

In standing (1-2 sets, 10-15 reps):
  • Mini squats
  • Mini lunges
  • Calf raises (with arms down by side first; then progress to holding arms straight out to sides)

Light strenghtening exercises using hand weights (eg. 1-2kg; 1-2 sets, 10-15 reps):
    Bicep curls
  • Bicep curls 
  • Tricep curls (palm facing inwards with arm held back, straightening/bending elbow) 
  • Deltoid flies (with elbow straight, elevate your arm out to the side)
  • Overhead press (push arm straight up into the air)

Gentle fitness exercise (15-30 mins):
  • Walking is important - If possible, try to get some fresh air and go for an easy walk around your area, sticking to the flats rather than doing hills

Gentle stretching exercises (hold each for approx 15secs, repeat 2x):
  • Neck: tilting head sideways, rotating both sides, looking up and down
  • Shoulders: 
    • Pull one arm across the front of your chest and feel the stretch at the back of your shoulders
    • Posterior Shoulder Stretch
    • With hands together, stretch arm upwards and hold above the head
    •  Reverse shoulder stretch
    • Wrap around shoulder stretch
    • Calf stretch
    • Quads stretch

Hope this has been helpful for you. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

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