Getting back into fitness after COVID can be challenging. Here are important things to keep in mind before you start exercising again and a follow along routine to help you safely transition back into movement.
If you are finding it hard to get back into exercise after having COVID, you are NOT alone. Even if you have mild symptoms, you may still experience difficulty in regaining your fitness. Returning to exercise is important, but so is taking it SLOWLY and being kind to yourself in the process. In most cases, many people can start to come back to fitness or sports after experiencing no symptoms for at least seven days. If you still have symptoms two weeks post-diagnosis, you should seek medical advice.
If you do feel you are ready to return to fitness and have not experienced any COVID-related symptoms for at least seven days, here are a few important things to remember when resuming exercise:
- Plan a gradual return to movement. Start SLOW and then sprinkle in more activity as your body tolerates it. What I usually recommend for clients is the 24-48 hour rule. If you do 15 minutes of exercise on day one, wait 24-48 hours to see how your body responds. If your body seems to tolerate the activity after 48 hours, then the next workout try doing 20 minutes. Only add a TINY bit at a time so that your body can reap the benefits without going into shock. The last thing you want is to slide backwards, over-exert yourself or get so sore you go back to square one. This slow, gradual return can be mentally challenging especially if you are used to exercising regularly or for longer amounts of time. Its essential you practice self compassion during your return. Put your ego aside. You dont need to “push it” or go hard. The goal should be a safe, successful comeback to exercise so that you can continue to enjoy it for the rest of your life. You’ll get back there if you are good to yourself, take it slow, listen to your body, and layer in movement gradually.
- Keep the exertion LOW. On a perceived exertion scale of 1-10, 1 being low and 10 being high, keep yourself below a 5. This should be an intensity where you can easily have a conversation. Dont push past this as it can set you back.
- Choose gentle forms of movement and go from there. I think its best to start with slow stretching, mobility, and easy walks. Even if you used to be a high intensity junkie, start at a very low intensity. Low intensity activities include walking, stretching, yoga and gentle strengthening exercises.
- STRENGTH train!! Believe it or not, Strength training can trigger the production of hormones and cells that boost your immune system. Bodyweight exercises are the perfect starting point if you do not have access to weights or resistance bands. Lucky for you, my Youtube channel is FULL of low impact, bodyweight strength routines. My beginner workouts, floor workouts, and pilates workouts would be a great way to strength train safely at home while you make your successful comeback from COVID19. Find some of my beginner workouts here.
- Practice self massage. Getting sick does a number on your muscles. If you are stiff from not moving, foam rolling is a great way to break up tight muscles and feel like yourself again. Choose any of my easy to follow along foam rolling routines here.
- Listen to your body. This should be obvious, but sometimes its not. Only progress the intensity of your exercise and lengthen your exercise duration if you do not experience any new or returning symptoms after exercise, and if you have fully recovered from the previous day’s exercise. Do not over-exert. You may need more than one recovery/rest day between exercise sessions and thats OK. Learn how to better listen to your body with these helpful tips
For most people, exercise will help you feel better after COVID-19 infection. But for some, exercise may actually make you feel worse by exacerbating your symptoms or bringing about new symptoms. If you feel well starting exercise, but experience extreme fatigue afterward, you may need to stop exercise. Seek advice from your doctor or see a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist who can give you advice on how best to manage this condition.
As your certified health and fitness coach, I am here to help you feel better after COVID and make a strong, successful comeback. Join me for this at home routine which combines gentle, low intensity movement and mobility exercises to get you back to feeling like yourself. Id suggest first getting permission from your doctor and then trying this routine 2-3x per week. Once you feel your body has adapted to it, layer in some of my other at home workout videos using the guidelines suggested above. Please know that i am here for you and together we are going to get you back to feeling better! I cant wait to watch you start to safely return to exercise post COVID19 and continue to enjoy fitness for life. Lets get started!
Low impact workout after COVID / Illness Follow Along (FEEL BETTER NOW!)
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Love moving with you my friend – feel better soon!
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