COVID 19 Recovery & Return to Exercise
Have you recently recovered from Covid-19 and not sure how to safely get back into your previous exercise routine? Read on to find out more
First off a couple of little qualifiers for this blog -
1) Please follow all the current guidelines from SA Health for testing and isolation requirements (or from your relevant government organisation if you're reading this from further afield).
2) This advice is for people who have had mild symptoms managed at home, if you have had more severe symptoms or have required hospitalization it’s strongly recommended you seek clearance from your treating doctor before returning to exercise. .
Wait at least 7 days from the onset of symptoms until resuming light physical activity, eg. Gentle walking, housework, gardening. You should be able to hold a normal conversation whilst completing this activity.
Once you have been completely free of symptoms for at least 7 days you can start a gradual return to exercise. Aim for 5-10 minutes of walking at a light to moderate pace. If you remain symptom free you can gradually increase this by 5 minutes each day until you can comfortably walk for 30minutes.
Light to moderate intensity exercise helps support your immune system function, keeping your exercise easy for at least the first two weeks helps you recover better.
If at any point you experience any return of symptoms such as abnormal shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue or chest pain stop your exercise and consult a health professional before continuing.
If you are managing well with your 30 minute walks you can start adding in some higher intensity exercise, this is any activity where you feel like you are working hard, you might be slightly out of breath but you should still be able to hold a conversation.
High intensity exercise is great for improving fitness but can place stress on your body and your immune system. Start off with just short intervals of high intensity activity in between light intensity intervals and make sure to give yourself time to recover in between sessions.
If you are feeling well you can start to slowly increase the time or the intensity of your sessions but make sure any increases are gradual to avoid injury.
You may have lost a little bit of fitness so be patient! Remember our bodies are very adaptable to change and capable of getting stronger and fitter but we need to give them the time and the chance to do this. When it comes to recovery and injury prevention slow and steady really does win the race!