The way you approach fitness may be all wrong.

If you’re the type of person who works out when you’re sick or injured, you’re likely pushing yourself too hard. Your body needs time to repair itself after strenuous activity. When infection is present, it’s important that you give yourself time to recover from it. If you don’t, you may be ill for longer than you expected. Your injury may not heal as quickly, either, which means that you may have to give up working out altogether.

Your Body Knows When You’ve Pushed It Too Hard

Here are some signs that you’re pushing yourself too hard while working out:

  • You feel worse, not better, following a workout. This is a sign that your body isn’t adjusting to the stress you put it through. A compromised immune system makes it harder to fight off infection. Your body may become inflamed as a result of the workout you put it through. Your joints may ache and you may notice edema in your feet, legs or chest.
  • You’re dizzy, wheezy, or nauseous. It may be due to the side effects of the medication that you’re taking. If your doctor has not released you to work out and you’ve chosen to do so, you’re putting your health at great risk. Although you may be eager to get back to the gym, follow the physician’s orders. They truly know what is best for you given the extent of your illness or injury.
  • You have a pre-existing condition that makes hard workouts risky. If you have asthma, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia, you’ll need to proceed with caution when working out. Your doctor will help you come up with a fitness plan that addresses your needs without compromising your health further. If you have an illness on top of a disease, it’s best to stay home until your doctor clears you for exercise. In the meantime, you may be able to do some low impact exercises at home or even take walks by yourself or with your family until you’ve recovered.

You know your body better than anyone else. If you feel rundown, tired, or even more ill or sore than you did before your workout, you likely overdid it. Allow yourself enough time to heal so you don’t stall your progress for good. You don’t want to be one of those people who hurt himself or herself permanently because you were too stubborn and wouldn’t stay out of the gym.

Eat Right, Stay Hydrated, Take Your Meds, and Get Ample Rest

Make sure that you eat nutritious foods, take prescribed medications and supplements, and take it easy until you’re ready to start up your fitness routine once again. You’ll help your body heal quickly by staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and choosing to consume a diet that is packed with lean protein, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Fitness is a Lifetime Pursuit, Not Just a Fun Pastime

Life is a journey, not a race. The only person pressuring yourself to get in shape is you. Ease up on your expectations because fitness is a lifelong pursuit, not something that you spend weeks or months trying to achieve and then forget about.