Fitness

Exercise after COVID

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Three weeks ago I got COVID and I was a miserable puppy. Truth be told, I was bitter as all get out after three years of steady masking, sanitizing, distancing, and limiting large group events on top of the vaccinations.

ID: Grumpy cat staring angrily represents my mood accurately. Photo by Cyrus Chew on Unsplash

Once I began to feel better, I started looking at how I would resume training. Three years in, we have a fair bit of research and information on how to do this safely post COVID infection. This article provides an overview of the research and offers some guidelines on how to resume activity. The authors write:

Return to exercise guidelines post-COVID-19 need to consider an individual’s duration & severity of symptoms, the presence of co-existing medical conditions, pre-morbid fitness, and the intensity of intended post-infection exercise. Return to exercise should also aim to minimize the development of non-COVID-19 related complications (e.g. musculoskeletal injuries) that may be associated with sudden increases in training volume and intensity following a period of mandatory isolation & relative inactivity.

The Reader’s Digest version: be careful, don’t do too much at once, and if anything changes for the worst, see a doctor. Here’s a short list of what you can do about managing your return to exercise post COVID:

  1. Make sure you have rested and are symptom-free. Even with mild cases, fatigue is a serious consideration.
  2. Ease back into your fitness routine, regardless of your fitness level. This article recommends trying gentle activities and assessing how your body feels.
  3. If your lungs were affected in a significant way, cardio type exercises should be avoided in the short term.
  4. Watch your heart rate. If you feel light headed or your symptoms recoccur and/or get worse, get checked out.
  5. Movement is important for recovery. As one Australian publication put it: “… think of any movement as a form of “exercise”. This could be getting up and going to the toilet or any other basics of your day. Movement can help stimulate the immune system and help people in their recovery, however, it’s a fine balance. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s a sign to take a break.”

I also found this handy guide that describes five stages to recovery and what activity is appropriate, when and how it should affect you.

Image shows a colour coded grid listing five stages of recovery. Source: https://www.nebraskamed.com/COVID/how-and-when-to-start-exercising-again-after-covid-19

Based on my research, I’ll be taking it slow for the next month. Everyone’s experience of COVID is different. While enforced idleness and isolation aren’t really what I wanted to be doing when my to-do list was a mile long, getting better and staying that way just got pinned to the top of that list.

— MarthaFitat55 is looking forward to getting her fit on.

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