Because the coronavirus is so new, there are still a lot of questions about what happens after the infection. For one, what does exercising after coronavirus recovery look like?
As the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 grows, so does the question of what getting back to physical activity after coronavirus recovery will look like for them. Here’s what we know about how COVID-19 can affect your body afterward—and what you need to know before getting back into the exercise groove. Exercising At Home and Staying Active During The Lockdown
When can you start exercising after coronavirus?
Because of the potential for serious complications with COVID-19—and the unknowns regarding who may be more likely to experience them—experts have recently published two separate guidelines on the return to exercising after coronavirus. And they align pretty closely in their recommendations to take a break and come back slowly.
For regular, general-population exerciser it is recommended to observe at least 7 to 10 days of no exercise from the time of testing positive for those who were asymptomatic, and about a week after symptom resolution for those who were mildly or moderately ill. Most people at this level probably don’t need to undergo testing such as blood work or cardiac ultrasounds before resuming exercise.
If you had COVID, but it was mild and you recover, it’s probably reasonable to slowly engage back to your routine of exercise. Of course, if you have preexisting health conditions, or you experience cardiac symptoms when you start exercising again, talk to your doctor before continuing.
How should you ease back into exercising after coronavirus?
Ease is the operative word. Even if you have a mild or moderate case of COVID-19 and you don’t develop any serious complications, you might still not be able to get right back to your regular exercise routine right away.
Experts think some people may develop a post-viral syndrome after COVID-19 that can leave them feeling fatigued for a few weeks or longer even after other symptoms resolve. And that, of course, can make physical activity difficult. Plus, simple deconditioning—say, from a couple weeks of bed rest or couch rest while convalescing—can make even your normal routine feel harder.
A lot of people are going to feel like crap when they get back to exercise, and that’s very common. You’re going to have to do a lot less at first and gradually build up to do what you were doing beforehand.
If you’re just feeling a little more short of breath than usual, get tired more quickly, or cough a little, you should focus on gradually increasing the duration of your physical activity as you get stronger. (If you’re concerned about these symptoms, though, definitely connect with your doctor to make sure they are part of a normal recovery.)
One helpful way to do that is to track your sessions and add to them—say, if you walked for five minutes one day before feeling exhausted, maybe the next, you can make it to six minutes, and so on. (You also definitely want to start with low-intensity activity, like walking, to ease your body back into it before you start thinking of more intense forms, like running.)
Another possibility is to break up your workout as you start to feel better. If you were doing 30-minute cardio sessions before, maybe you split them up into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day to help your body adjust.