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Exercising After COVID-19: The do’s and don'ts

A range of symptoms may be experienced as a result of COVID-19 and these include: fatigue, concentration and memory problems, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains as well as anxiety and other mental health concerns. 


Another important aspect of Covid is the recovery. Getting back into an exercise routine can be quite challenging. 


How long should you avoid exercise after having Covid?

There is no exact time period for this as recovery differs from person to person. In the early stages of recovery, any movement that you do can be a form of exercise. Movement is important here as it helps stimulate the immune system and helps with recovery but it is important not to overdo it. 


During recovery, it’s likely that you will still experience mild symptoms but it is okay to continue exercising. If symptoms are limiting you, seek advice from a medical professional. 


Be patient and don’t rush back into exercise

Although having a break from regular exercise can leave you feeling bad within yourself, it is important to remember that even professional athletes have breaks. Having some time off won’t have any severe consequences. 



Start exercising slowly

It is important to take it easy as some individuals find that hours after exercising, they can feel fatigued and have some aches and pains. If this is the case, you should speak with a health professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to get the appropriate advice suited for you and your lifestyle. 


When feeling ready to start exercise again, movement can be as simple as self care tasks including having a shower and getting dressed. You can then progress to something easy such as walking to gradually rebuild fitness again. 



Signs you should look out for when exercising after Covid

It's important to think about what is appropriate to experience during exercise. If you experience shortness of breath whilst sitting down, that is not appropriate. But if you experience shortness of breath whilst exercising, then that is fine. 


It’s normal and appropriate to experience some shortness of breath, aches and pains, fatigue and a cough for a few weeks after Covid. But, if these are getting worse and limiting your ability to exercise and get involved in life, then you should slow down and take it easier. Pushing through these symptoms can make them stick around for longer. 



Getting the right advice

If you are in need of assistance to start exercise after Covid, help from an Accredited Exercise Physiologist can guide you to return to regular movement and exercise safely. They will assess your current capacity and prescribe an exercise program that is suited to your needs. From there, they can help gradually progress your training load without increasing symptoms. 



References

COVID-19, 1., cognition, E., Habits, E., Them, C., Exercise, C. and COVID-19, T., 2022. The dos and don’ts of exercising after COVID-19 - Exercise Right. [online] Exercise Right. Available at: <https://exerciseright.com.au/the-dos-and-donts-of-exercising-after-covid-19/>