Getting Back on the Fitness Bandwagon Post-COVID-19
Now that we’re on the track towards normalcy, jumping back on your normal exercise routine after injury or getting COVID-19 should be done slowly and surely. As the adage goes, ‘Everything in due time’. It’s important to take sufficient time to recover post-injury or sickness, as the road to recovery might take longer or, even worse, lead to a reinjury or relapse. Returning to exercise or any kind of physical activity for that matter, after the dreaded COVID-19 is complicated, especially with the host of potential complications it can come with, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). If you’re having persisting COVID symptoms, also know as long COVID, going back to your former fitness level can take longer — months or more. Should you feel ready to reclaim and work on your physical health, it’s good to consult with your doctor first and be careful.
Don’t Exercise If You Have Symptoms of COVID-19
The most crucial thing to keep in mind is to avoid exercising when experiencing symptoms like fever, exhaustion, or shortness of breath. Before starting an exercise programme again, first give yourself seven to 10 days to ascertain that you’re symptom-free. Exercising should be the least of your concern when you’re ill or symptomatic with an active infection. If you exercise when you have a viral illness that’s active, this could worsen the situation and result in further problems.
Start Slow with Gradually Increase of Intensity
Kicking off your exercise journey again post-COVID-19 all depends on the way you’re feeling and the level of activity you were doing before. You could start by walking around your neighbourhood or the park and gradually build up your walking tolerance. Once you feel confident and ready to up the ante, you can turn walking into jogging or add a more intense cardio, but not too intense — enough to elevate your heart rate higher than walking does. Swimming is another great alternative. After gradually building the intensity of your exercises over the span of a few weeks and you continue to feel good, you can then return to your workout regime. Fitness enthusiasts who love the nitty gritty of planned workouts to certain heart rate zones or perceived exertion metrics, can follow the guide set out by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (after discussing with your doctor, of course). It’s a four-week program to get you back to your usual fitness level.
Take it Easy – Especially if You Have Any Existing Heart Issues
Listen to your body — it will tell you everything you need to know. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused all kinds of complications, including serious inflammation throughout the body, and part of this inflammation can affect the cardiac muscle that causes myocarditis, in some cases. It may also cause an arrhythmia, in which the heart beats erratically, or it may occasionally result in a ventricular arrhythmia, increasing the risk of a heart attack. In conclusion, if you have an existing heart condition, consult your doctor before jumping into strenuous workouts.