So you’ve had the spicy cough hey? Aka COVID 19. You might be experiencing any number of different symptoms depending on where you are in your recovery. However, towards the tail end of Covid (can we get an amen for that), you might start to feel an increase in energy, your muscle soreness might be easing and you’re thinking you might be ready to roll back into normal life. Well hold up there for a hot second, you might think you are ready, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Experts have recommended waiting 7 - 10 days after symptoms clear before exercising. Each person is different when it comes to symptoms and recovery times, so each individual's time to get back into the swing of exercise routines will be different. The important thing to remember is not to rush. When you don’t give your body time to rest and heal or rush back into exercise, it can severely impact your recovery and overall health.
Adjusting to anything again can always be made far more smooth by taking it slowly and easing in. So don’t feel like you need to be booking in 5 classes at the gym your first week back to exercise. In fact, on top of suggesting waiting 7 - 10 days after you’ve Covid symptoms have ceased, experts say you should be exercising at 50% capacity to what you usually would. There will always be a time to go hard and push yourself to reach your training goals, but recovering isn’t one of those times. If you are unsure of when to get back into exercising or when to increase the intensity and amount of exercise, make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider or an expert for professional advice. Especially in the case that you have underlying conditions such as cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions.
So let’s talk about exercise specifics. Walking is always a great place to start, followed by slowly building up the intensity, frequency and duration. Listening to your body in these beginning phases of exercise will be a great indication of how your body is coping, and from here you can ramp it up as you feel comfortable. Alongside walking, exercise physicians have also recommended light yoga to activate muscles that haven’t been in use while lying down, this will get the blood flowing again.
Another extremely helpful exercise to incorporate into recovery and into your daily routine post covid, is breathing exercises. The COVID virus attacks the lungs and respiratory system, so deep breathing (also known as belly breathing) through the nose and expanding the lungs to full capacity can help restore diaphragm function. It also encourages the nervous system to relax and restore function. The best part about breathing exercises is that they are free, easy and can be done from the comfort of your home. Again, if you are after more tailored advice on breathing make sure you consult a medical professional or health care provider.
Remember not to be too hard on yourself and most definitely don’t compare yourself to your level of fitness or amount of activity before COVID. Whenever there is a disruption to day-to-day life, habits and routines can often feel a little out of whack and it’s important to keep in mind that this is completely normal and returning back to routines in a healthy and safe manner will take time that your body needs and deserves. And if you’re lacking motivation long past Covid symptoms have passed and you need some convincing on why getting back into exercise is so good for you, check out our blog on Exercise and the Chain Reactions. Look after yourself, take it slow and remember everyone’s journey with recovery and exercise is different! bree