Given exercise is proven to be vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it can be tempting to jump straight back into your regular exercise regime immediately following your recovery from COVID-19.
However, experts are urging those who have contracted the virus to ease themselves back into exercise, to avoid jeopardising their recovery, particularly given the damage COVID-19 does to the lungs.
So how can you safely resume your exercise routine after mounting a recovery from the virus?
Health experts advise waiting at least seven days, or until your symptoms resolve, to return to exercise, even if showing not symptoms.
To safely resume exercising, start with some low intensity activities.
According to Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy, University of Melbourne, Dr Selina Perry, Melbourne, activities such as housework, light garden tasks or gentle walking are the best activities to resume within the first couple of weeks post- contracting the virus.
When participating in low intensity exercises, you should be able to complete a task while engaging in a full conversation, and without feeling exhausted afterwards.
Initially avoid activities that get your heart racing, such as cardio-related workouts, as lung damage caused by the virus prevents oxygen from reaching the heart muscles, which in turn, reduces the volume of blood and oxygen circulating through other parts of the body.
Engaging in high intensity exercise, or returning to exercise too early can increase the likelihood of developing long-Covid, whereby COVID-19 symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath and joint or muscle pain remain, or develop after initial infection.
After a week or more of gentle movement, you can progress to moderate exercise, such as brisk walks, or swimming.
Gradually increasing the duration and intensity of activities like those mentioned above, provides the body with a smooth transition to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity and strength.
In addition, following a balanced diet packed with fruit and veggies speeds recovery, by fuelling the body with much-needed nutrients and energy.
Be sure to listen to your body, know your limits, and don’t push yourself too far in a bid to speed up your recovery.
If you’re still unsure how to safely resume exercise, ask your GP, a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for professional support.