image source: www.api.org.au
Everyone’s experience with exercising after COVID is different. Some people feel fine and some the opposite.
Firstly, if your fatigue is still limiting you when taking care of yourself (showering, preparing meals, basic household chores) or you’re short of breath/ sent into coughing fits with these activities, you aren’t ready to go back to exercising just yet. Instead, continue to manage sleep/stress/hydration until you have no “COVID symptoms”.
I am finally back to work after two weeks off, thanks to COVID leaving me couch-bound with nothing but reality TV to keep me going. As I’ve gotten back into the swing of things, it’s given me a chance to practice what I preach – a gradual return to exercise after time off (remember time off can be due to COVID but also….. holidays, too busy to exercise, drop in motivation, terrible weather…..).
While everyone’s experience with COVID differs, getting back to exercise follows the same basic rules for everyone – start slowly and gradually build-up and listen to your body.
Fatigue was my limiting factor; this is how I managed by return to exercise
- Increased the amount of house work I was doing: getting out in the garden, meant that I got moving a little bit, but it was easy to rest once I felt the fatigue increasing.
- Slow walks: I started going for 5-10 minutes close to home, so I could rest as needed. I did a few of these each day, and then gradually built up the time I spent walking
- Body weight exercises: I did yoga, pilates, exercises from my gym program without the weights.
- Return to the gym / sport: I started with substantially reduced weights (50%) for my first week back. This gave me a chance to monitor my fatigue and make sure my technique was right. Also it’s not uncommon for your post exercise muscle soreness to be more than usual after any virus, so reduced weights will make sure this is less intense. For sport – I started doing every 2nd drill and took extra breaks as I needed!
- The dreaded return to running: Any runner knows the worst thing about running is getting back into it after a period of time off – which is why I’ve been putting it off slightly! Like everything with running, build your weekly kms back up slowly, and listen to your body – I’ll be starting this weekend with a gentle 3km, and build from there.
9 of the 13 staff at Active Solutions Physiotherapy have experienced COVID, all with varying degrees of sickness. We understand that for some people recovery is a breeze and for others it is plagued by headaches, migraines, fatigue, coughing, increased heart rate and a myriad of other weird symptoms. We wish you well in your return to full health and fitness. If you develop new injuries, have a flare up of old ones or need some exercise advice, book a Physiotherapy or Massage appointment to help your recovery.