It was mere weeks ago that it seemed every second person in Perth was either isolating with COVID-19, or struggling to keep businesses and lives running smoothly due to COVID interruptions.
Those hit by the COVID-19 bug reported varying symptoms, from very mild sniffles; through to a horrid flu-like illness with aching limbs, shortness of breath and fatigue; long-COVID symptoms that just don’t seem to go away; and hospitalisation.
For some people, the impact of COVID-19 on their health and wellbeing was scary, to say the least.
Not being able to shake the after-effects, however, is detrimental to mental wellness, family engagement and even employment. As a result, one of the most frequent questions our Expert Physiologists are being asked is: how do I safely return to exercise after a COVID infection?
This is a question we heara lot and a very important one.
Slow and steady wins the race after covid
The first thing we stress to patients is that getting back into exercise will be different for everyone. For some, specially those with ongoing symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue, it will be extra challenging.
There’s a few things to be mindful of when you return to exercise after any illness, and they are:
- Be gentle on yourself and your expectations
- Start with 5-10 minutes of low-intensity exercises, like walking, stretching, swimming or a stationary bike
- Go slowly
- Listen to your body – and monitor how you feel during the activity, an hour after, and the next day
- Allow your body to recover
- If there’s no pain or symptoms, increase your output in 15-minute increments
- Have realistic goals
When you are ready to start exercising again, start with something gentle such as 5-10 minutes of walking, stretches or a light swim, then gradually build up in 15-minute increments.
After each session, check in with yourself. Are you sore or struggling, are you feeling more fatigued?
If you find that symptoms such as pain, loss of breath and fatigue are holding you back, please seek the advice of your GP and ask for a referral to see one of our expert Exercise Physiologists to develop a personalised, supervised management plan.
Can I exercise with long COVID?
Long COVID refers to the fact that the patient no longer has the covid virus, but the symptoms refuse to go away. These include severe fatigue, loss of smell and taste, sore throat and coughing, nausea and light sensitivity.
As you can imagine, these are all physical challenges that could totally disrupt a person’s life – making it impossible to be available for work, family, friends or even physical activity.
For those experiencing long COVID beyond six weeks, it’s important to seek medical guidance and support, because pushing through regardless can make symptoms worse.
A referral to see one of our expert Exercise Physiologists would be a wonderful first step to take. You may also benefit from the guidance of a nutritionist.
Invest in the right advice
Don’t worry, it’s health challenges such as these that we’ve spent so many years studying and training for. You are in safe, compassionate and caring hands.
When it comes to your personal journey with one of our expert Exercise Physiologists, there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. Treatment needs to be tailored to you and your goals. Accredited Exercise Physiologists are suitably qualified and well-positioned in the healthcare system to guide and support you on your road to recovery.
We’re primed and ready to help you on your journey. Private patients don’t need a doctor’s referral, but for most other schemes you will.
For more information on how we can help, please give Agility Rehabilitation a call on (08) 6162 8145, or via our website.