How to Keep Your Exercise Momentum When Sick

A common plight I hear is “I was doing great with exercise, but then I got sick.” ¬†Breaks in consistency make it very difficult for us to get back into the swing of things.

Here are some things to try next time you’re sick.

First and foremost: be especially aware of how your body is feeling! This is not about pushing through pain or ignoring your body’s need for rest.

When ill, take the first miserable day completely off. If it’s a 24 hour bug, you’re likely to be back at your exercise easy peasy.

Each day the illness continues walk out the door and take some breaths of fresh air. If this doesn’t make you feel worse, try slowly walking a little. Only walk as far as feels good (or at least as good or better than lying down).

If you barely have the energy to walk to the bathroom, focus instead on stretching while in bed or on the couch. Gently stretch your body, wherever feels okay and doesn’t make you hurt more. This may mean you simply spread and stretch your fingers and toes. Focus on your breathing while doing this.

Put on a fun song and wiggle your toes and fingers or tap your feet to it. Any small amount of movement, that doesn’t make you feel worse, should help the body function better and keep you in the mode of moving your body!

You may just do 30 seconds a day, that’s totally fine. Just focus on doing what doesn’t make your body feel worse and on being present and looking forward to when you can move your body more. Treat the exercise time with respect, no matter how short.

This is a great time to develop non-shallow, relaxed breathing habits, which will also be a great benefit when you can comfortably move more. Some days the breathing may be all you do for exercise. That’s okay, the idea is to keep in the mode of doing something, anything.

And, of course, give yourself lots of TLC and patience. Your body is asking for a break– give it what it wants as much as you can.

Have you experienced the lack of momentum after being ill? Do you have suggestions that have worked for you? Any questions? Please share in the comments! And as always I’m happy to hear from you at


  1. Love the ideas …. I don’t know how many times I was doing so well with exercise then got sick and it was hard to get back in the groove. I will remember the stretching and breathing next time sickness plagues me.


  2. Last winter I was sick at least two times each month, sometimes more. I completely lost my exercise momentum and ended up not exercising for months because I just got sick again. I started up in the late spring with 5 minutes, and it took me through the summer to early fall to build back up to my previous level of stamina. This winter I really don’t want to lose it all again! Thank you so much for this post!

    • You’re welcome Wendy! I hope the sick bug leaves you alone this winter, sounds like you’ve had your share! I’m glad to hear that you have built your stamina back up, way to go!