How To Return To Your Exercise Routine Safely After Recovering From COVID-19

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

If you’re a student athlete or active adult who has recuperated from COVID-19, you’re probably itching to get back on the field or return to your exercise routine. Alternatively, if you don’t have symptoms or if your illness is mild, you could be wondering what activities you are able to do while you wait out the infection.

Here are some recommendations and guidelines for a safe return to fitness after COVID-19.

Returning To Exercise Should Be Individualised

There isn’t a clear and uniform response in people who recover from COVID-19. It makes sense for everyone — even individuals who had only mild to modest symptoms or even no symptoms at all — to contact with their health-care provider so that they are able to have some discussion about how to begin to return to exercise appropriately as well as how to increase intensity appropriately.

The General Consensus Among Exercise Physicians

This general recommendation is to wait at least seven days after you first experience symptoms to resume any type of exercise. However, don’t jump back in like you’re qualifying for the Olympics. Rather, begin with low- or light-intensity activities. This might be things such as everyday activities — for instance, housework, light garden tasks or gentle walking — for the first couple of weeks.

You should be able to do tasks such as these while holding a full conversation.

From there, slowly increase the time you’re doing these tasks, perhaps by 10 to 15 minutes per day, until you get to the point where you can complete a 30-minute walk at a light intensity.

If You Feel Breathless

It is very important for you to monitor your breathlessness when you exercise. You should exercise at a level where you are somewhat out of breath but are still able to talk.

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How To Get Back Into Your Workout Regimen if You Have Long COVID-19

The safest and best way to get back into exercising will look different for people with prolonged symptoms.

What we’ve seen thus far is that these individuals begin to feel better, however they never quite get over the hump of the illness. They seem to plateau and don’t get better. COVID-19 long haulers could experience excessive fatigue with normal day-to-day activities, experience headaches every day and find themselves out of breath doing things such as going up and down the stairs or walking to the postbox.

It seems to take a prolonged period of time for these people to get better, and they definitely should not attempt to get back to exercising while they’re feeling that way.

Will Exercise Help Me With Getting Over COVID-19?

As long as you slowly and gently build up your workout routine, yes.

The physical and health benefits from being physically active meaningfully outweigh the risks of not engaging in exercise, post-COVID, for many people.

If you’re not feeling motivated though, the smallest of steps can help.

If you are lying down and feeling like you have no energy, if you just get up and move a little bit … reach down and touch your toes, or any sort of mobility moves, even just five minutes of a yoga flow, you will feel so much better.

If you’re moving the body and breathing, then the blood flow and oxygen rushes through your whole entire body, which makes you feel a lot better, so your endorphins are flying.

Any return to physical activity for these individuals should only happen after they are symptom-free and with the guidance of their doctor.

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