As COVID remains ever present in our local community, the team at BHN want to spread awareness on how we should be returning to exercise following COVID. It can be tempting to jump right back into our usual exercise routines, but this can have a negative impact on our recovery. Here are some recommendations to ensure you are taking steps in the right direction.
When do I start?
Research is showing that we should wait 7 days before returning to exercise after contracting COVID. You should also be asymptomatic when recommencing exercise. Unfortunately, for some this may be longer than 7 days.
What should I do?
As mentioned earlier, we can’t return to our normal exercise routine straight away. As COVID is a respiratory infection, our pulmonary system takes a hit. This means you may find yourself getting puffed much sooner than you normally would with certain activities. To help rebuild your exercise tolerance, start going for short walks most days. These may start at 10mins of gentle walking, and progress to 20-30mins as your fitness rebuilds. Try 1 week of slow walking then you can progress onto more challenging exercise like a brisk walk, light resistance training or cycling. Once you’ve gotten through a week of this without any hiccups, you can gradually start to build up your exercise. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
What do I need to look out for? Stop exercising if you experience:
Breathlessness (more than normal shortness of breath you get with that exercise)
Exacerbation of previous COVID symptoms or new symptoms
Chest pain – see GP to ensure no signs on myocarditis, call ambulance if this doesn’t subside.
Monitor how you’re feeling for the rest of the day after you exercise. If any of the above symptoms present than you may have gone too hard, too soon. Need some help? If you are feeling unsure about returning to exercise post-COVID, the team at BHN are here to help. Our physiotherapists and exercise physiologists are trained in pulmonary rehabilitation if you are struggling with your lung health. They can also help get you back into regular exercise and advise on how you should be progressing.