As businesses, schools, and other sectors of life start to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are looking for ways to safely navigate physical activity while recovering from long COVID. This can be a daunting task with restrictions in place on group sizes, social distancing protocols, and limited knowledge of how Long COVID may affect an individual’s body.
We will provide guidance on appropriate types of physical activity based upon your individual level of recovery from long COVID as well as discuss strategies for managing fatigue and other symptoms associated with long-haulers.
Part I: Understanding Your Body during Recovery from Long COVID
For those who have experienced prolonged symptoms or any kind of relapse after recovering from the initial virus, understanding your body is the first step in navigating physical activity. Long COVID can cause a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person and may affect other existing health conditions. It’s important to take note of any changes or new sensations in the body and use this knowledge when deciding which kind of physical activity you can safely engage in.
Part II: Strategies for Fatigue Management
Fatigue is one of the most common and debilitating symptoms associated with long-haulers. Engaging in too much physical activity can worsen fatigue, so it’s important to find ways to manage it before attempting any form of exercise. Here are some strategies for managing fatigue during recovery from long COVID:
- Prioritize rest days – Make sure to incorporate days of rest in between physical activity or even alternate days of light and moderate exercise.
- Move more throughout the day – To combat fatigue, try to move more during your daily activities. This can be as simple as taking a walk after dinner, going for a bike ride on the weekends, or engaging in stretching sessions before bed.
- Get adequate sleep – Make sure you are getting enough quality sleep each night by creating consistent routine and avoiding screens near bedtime.
Part III: Building an Exercise Routine During Long COVID Recovery
Once you have identified your individual level of recovery from long COVID and created strategies for managing fatigue, it is time to create an exercise routine tailored specifically to your needs. There are many types of exercise you can consider as you build your routine. Here are some to keep in mind:
- Low-impact exercises – These include activities such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and swimming. They are less likely to cause pain or injury so they can be a good place to start if you have had difficulty with more strenuous activities.
- Resistance training – This type of exercise involves the use of weights or body weight to create resistance which helps strengthen muscles and bones over time. Depending on your condition, this may be done at home or in a gym setting with proper guidance from a professional trainer.
- High intensity interval training (HIIT) – An effective way to burn calories and build strength, HIIT involves alternating between short bursts of high intensity exercises with recovery periods. This can be a great way to challenge your body while still remaining safe.
- Walking or running – These are simple activities that can be done anywhere, anytime. If you are feeling up for it, try setting a goal distance or time to achieve each week.
Navigating physical activity during recovery from long COVID can be a daunting task, but it is possible if you take the time to understand your body, create strategies for managing fatigue, and develop a tailored exercise routine. By doing these things, you will be setting yourself up for success as you look towards improving your health and well-being over time.
Navigating physical activity during Long COVID recovery is not an easy task but it is important in order to maintain your overall health and well-being. By understanding how the virus has affected your individual body and managing your fatigue levels, you can safely create an exercise routine that fits with your current level of recovery from long COVID. With dedication and patience, you can ensure you are on the right track to full recovery.