Post covid complications have made life miserable for a substantial portion of our population; while covid is debilitating, post covid can be worse. The thing with covid is that because it is such a dynamically evolving situation, with newer variants affecting the body in different ways it is difficult to say anything with certainty. While we are still in the dark about many aspects of the disease’s manifestation, some of the physical complications like its effect on lungs, kidneys and other organs are fairly well established including the notorious post covid anxiety.
We all know exercise is great for building immunity; what about exercise to recover from diseases? Exercise plays a crucial part in recuperation and recovery, including covid. Return to physical activity would be determined by how terribly you were hit by the disease. People who suffered mild symptoms can most likely resume physical activity about 2 weeks after recovering from it; those who suffered moderate to severe symptoms may need a longer rest period of about 4 weeks. For people who had had to be hospitalized, needed oxygen support, the rest period can be as long as 12 weeks. It is essential to get yourself checked by your doctor and get a clearance for resumption of physical activity especially if you had severe symptoms or underwent hospitalization. Conditions like myocarditis may make exercise difficult and sometimes dangerous too for you. Once you get clearance you should start a gradual return to regular physical activity.
For the first 2 weeks resumptions of light cardiovascular activity like brisk walking, jogging, cycling at mild to moderate intensity (not more than 60% of Maximum Heart Rate) for 15 minutes, light stretches, breathing exercises should suffice. If this can be successfully completed, we can then move to the next phase, where cardiovascular activity is increased to 15-20 minutes with the addition of body weight exercises or light resistance training. Weight training should be moderate, with adequate rest between sets and not more than 3 sessions per week. At this point easing into the program is the key rather than considering building muscle or losing fat. This phase would again approximately be for another 2 weeks. Total workout time would be about 40 minutes in a session. You should keep in mind is that your body has gone through a tremendous amount of stress and you should not push it to its limits. Let the body ease into the routine. If at any point you feel uneasy or discomfort stop, and reassess. At the end of one month of training, the body should be ready to take on some more intensity and depending on your pre covid exercise capacity, you may consider a resumption of normal exercise activity.
It is pertinent to note that there is no clear prescription on post covid exercise resumption; just like there is no fixed treatment protocol for the disease. Just like the disease is treated symptomatically, exercises will also have to be planned based on individual responses to it while respecting the individual’s physical limitations. Therefore, I would recommend getting hold of a good trainer initially so that they may help you get back on your feet.
While we have to ease into the program, covid should also not be the reason to stop physical activity altogether. Just like the body needs rest to recover, after a certain point of time, it also needs physical activity. Apart from the obvious physical weakness and effect, the impact of covid on one’s mental health is tremendous. Post covid anxiety is dreadful to say the least; and I can safely say that no one comes out unscathed from covid. At the end of the day, covid does take a piece out of you. Having said that, you have to stand firm and not let the disease define the rest of your life. One way of doing it is controlling the mind and body through a structured and planned return to exercise.
The Writer Angshuman Dutta is the CEO/Founder of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him at http://www.instagram.com/angshuman.fitness
To know more about our courses please visit https://www.transformersfitnessacademy.com/courses