Exercising After Covid

There would be no doubt that for most people the last few years have been challenging as we learn to get back into physical activity after Covid. As many people have found, the symptoms that are generally experienced are worse than a cold or flu and people haven’t been able to bounce back as easily to their everyday activities. To make matters more challenging, Covid illness seems to affect different people in different ways, ranging from no to relatively minor symptoms through to experiencing symptoms for a longer period of time in the case of ‘Long Covid’.

As Covid symptoms affect people differently, so to is each person’s ability to return back to exercise after they have fallen ill. Typically with exercise, the goal is to challenge yourself each session so that you experience improvements in fitness and strength. In regard to exercising after having Covid however, it is recommended that the intensity in the first few sessions should be light enough so that you don’t get out of breath and then aim to slowly increase as you return to your normal exercise routine.

In cases such as long covid, it may be tempting to ‘push-through’ the symptoms, but as research is starting to highlight, pushing through a viral illness can lead to chronic illness. The recommendation here for getting back into physical activity is to first focus on returning to performing all of your daily living activities at home and outdoors (such as chores and errands etc). Once you can perform these activities without experiencing undue exhaustion, this is a sign to start slowly introducing exercise back into your routine. When starting back with exercise, it is best to begin with lower intensity activities such as walking, stretching, yoga or similar. While performing these types of activities, take note of how hard you can work while still holding a conversation at the same time. As your system recovers and you become more capable of exercising, you’ll likely find that you can do more and more in this way until you can start to return to more intense exercise.

As many people are finding, the amount of time taken to get ‘back to normal’ has been longer than expected. Although this can be frustrating, it is important to be patient, listen to your body and adjust your exercise accordingly to avoid pushing too hard against your symptoms. Indeed, it seems to be if you push your Covid symptoms too hard, they can push you back! In most cases however, if you follow the above recommendations, you will be able to get back to enjoying your physical pursuits and enjoying life before you know it.

Mick Craven is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with over 20 years’ experience helping people of all ages and circumstances to lead a healthier and happier life. Contact us today on 3491 6533 to learn more or book a session.