The road to recovery from COVID-19 can be another challenge for many patients. It is always difficult to get moving and exercise after an illness, but patients recovering from the coronavirus have found returning to exercise has become exceedingly difficult.
The important part is to keep cautious about your exercise levels and to avoid intense exercise while recovering from COVID-19. Researchers have found recovery from the COVID-19 virus seems to be a different experience for everyone.
Whether asymptomatic, to mild and moderate symptoms, to those who have needed to be hospitalised, once a patient has become virus-free, resuming normal activities has proved to be a different experience for everyone.
Before getting back into a regular exercise routine, you should first wait for at least 10 to 14 days from diagnosis to ensure you are no longer feeling the symptoms of the virus. Once asymptomatic, then slowly increase your exercise activity as your tolerance increases. Be warned, it may take some time to return to your previous fitness levels.
It is still unclear how the virus affects our bodies in the long term, particularly the cardiovascular system. It is known that COVID-19 can damage the heart and the lungs, but as yet, there has not been enough research to be able to tell who will be affected and for how long.
One potential repercussion of the COVID-19 infection is myocarditis, a type of inflammation in the heart. This can lead to swelling of the muscles of the heart resulting in decreased exercise capacity. Symptoms can include chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or swelling of the extremities.
Myocarditis needs to be taken very seriously because, in some cases, it can lead to sudden death. Myocarditis typically affects those who have had severe COVID-19 infection, but it can occur in asymptomatic individuals.
If any of the following symptoms develop during exercise recovery, you should take them as warning signs, stop exercising and seek medical attention:
- Chest pain;
- Fast heart rate;
- Persistent cough;
- Unrelenting Headache;
- Overwhelming Fatigue.
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