How to build muscles up after illness

Updated March 23, 2017

When you are on absolute bedrest, you lose a small percentage of muscle daily. The process of losing muscle is called muscle atrophy, when your muscles start to deteriorate. Repair your body while you recover from illness. Know that your body must heal as well as become stronger. Take care of your body, and slowly build up muscle mass. Begin to regain muscle mass by doing light activity to get from place to place during your day. Over time, you can add exercises and begin a workout routine.

Maintain a proper diet. Focus on having a balanced diet with lean protein and minimal processed foods. Avoid sodas and sugary foods that have empty calories.

Let your body rest. Give your body time to recuperate between any workout. Do not worry that you might never get in shape if you rest, because the process of building up muscles takes time and requires rest periods.

Start walking. Even a walk from the bed to the mailbox counts. Do not pressure yourself to walk far at this point because your body is healing.

Gradually increase the amount of exercise you do. Begin walking long distances to build up strength, but remember to rest and not push yourself too hard.

Add weights to increase resistance and degree of intensity when your body is ready. Begin lifting 5 pound weights and small objects around your house. Gradually lift heavier weights, and build up to a more comprehensive weightlifting workout.


Eat a diet rich in protein to help heal your muscles after working out.


Do not overly push yourself after an illness. Even athletes need to rest and recover.

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About the Author

Theresa Pickett has written since 2007. She graduated from Flagler College with a Bachelor of Arts in history and Vanderbilt University with a Master of Education in elementary education. As a certified teacher who earned the ETS Recognition of Excellence for Praxis II Elementary Education, she has been published in "Student Filmmakers Magazine" and "Model Life Magazine."