Since the time images were circulated of patients on ventilators and individuals looking for oxygen containers, we’ve been conditioned to think of Covid-19 as a respiratory disease. But is it just about the lungs? According to the doctors, the novel coronavirus infection could affect other parts of the body as well, including the brain, blood vessels and the heart.
The effect of Covid-19 varies from person to person. Some might feel mild symptoms or not feel any symptoms at all, while for some the disease may be fatal. “If symptoms are mild and limited to the upper respiratory tract (cough, runny nose), then light to moderate exercise might be beneficial. More intense exercise should be avoided during covid infection, even if symptoms are mild, as higher-intensity exercise can temporarily reduce immune function, which would not help one combat the virus,” explains Alexander J. Koch, professor and program coordinator for Exercise Science at Lenoir-Rhyne University, North Carolina, US.
Once you have recovered from Covid-19, you can plan working out again. As much as it is important to exercise and continue being fit once you’ve tested negative, you need to remember and follow certain health rules. The first and foremost is not exerting yourself beyond what your body permits. Remember that even if the symptoms were mild or none at all, you have just regained the energy and you need to be cautious about your muscles as well. Secondly, it is best to consult your physician and take into consideration the level of workouts recommended by them.
According to Namita Piparaiya, a yoga and Ayurveda lifestyle specialist, and the founder of Yoganama, yoga is an excellent aid during the recovery process, because it helps to boost energy. Even attempting half the moves will make you more mobile, which is always good after long periods spent lying in a bed.
To begin with working out again, here are a few asanas that you can follow:
– Preparatory asanas (5-10 minutes)
– Cleansing breathing kriyas (2-3 minutes)
– Pranayama (5-15 minutes)
– Meditation (10-20 minutes)
Post-COVID period is not for training hard, rather it is time to train smart. If you get down from 40 push-ups to 4, it’s okay. Your body needs time to gain back the strength and you need to respect that. Once your body is adjusted to the yoga routine, you can switch to low intensity aerobic exercises. Begin with stretches following jumping jacks, kneeling reverse leg lifts, lunges, side step squats, side leg raises, single leg runner, warrior jacks and bird dog for 40 seconds each. You can also do a plank for 30 seconds if your body allows. Make sure you cool down with light stretches post this work out. Along with that, notice your heartbeat and make sure it doesn’t shoot up. If it does, rest more in between exercises.
After this phase of about 7 days and when fatigue level is normal, you can return to your regular exercise pattern. People have returned to more strenuous exercises after recovering from Covid-19, but remember to be patient as your body gets back to normal after fighting the infection. This is not to say you cannot return to your old lifting and strength training exercises, but take your time with this and be grateful to your body for the fight it puts up and focus on convalescing.
It is important that you seek medical advice in case of any abnormal shortness of breath for a given activity level, or return of symptoms including temperature, lethargy or chest pain. Monitor your mood. If you feel more anxious, down or low, speak to someone, and stay as healthy as possible.