Getting back into your exercise routine after any illness or injury can be challenging, but what about when it comes to resuming physical activity after having Covid-19? Each patient with Covid-19 is unique and there is a wide range with how each person handles, experiences, and recovers from the virus.
The best advice about exercising after having Covid-19 is to be very careful. Regardless of your age or fitness level, it is important to discuss physical activity plans with your doctor and proceed with caution. Exercise should not resume if a patient with Covid-19 has a persistent fever, cough, chest pain, palpitations, or any kind of breathlessness at rest. If you have an underlying cardiovascular or pulmonary condition, consult a physician before resuming exercise, even if you were asymptomatic while you had the virus.
Also, don’t exercise while you still have symptoms of Covid-19 virus. If you are feeling any kind of fever, fatigue, or shortness of breath it is still way too soon to resume exercise. It is recommended to be symptom free for 7 – 10 days before getting back to exercise.
When you are ready and have been medically cleared to resume exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. For most people, just getting back to a walking program is a great way to start, gradually working yourself back into your normal cardio routine. Other awesome options include using a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or even getting in the water and swimming—all at a low intensity.
For more serious fitness enthusiasts who base their workout off certain heart rate zones or how much they’re lifting, it’s recommended that you break down your program into a 4 week recovery to get back to your usual fitness levels. The first week you should reduce your activity by 50% of what you were doing. If you feel good doing that after the first week with no issues, the next week you can move to a 30% reduction, then 20%, then 10%.
Most importantly, listen to your body, especially if you have any heart issues. Take it slow, don’t ignore what’s going on inside of you, and if you don’t feel right stop and make an opportunity to talk to your doctor.