How to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19

Even though when it comes to COVID-19, things are looking better than they did last year, it is not to say that everything is perfect. Many people are still battling to recover from the virus and resume their previous lifestyles. Unfortunately, that is no easy task. It will take a lot of willpower and patience to get back into your routine. However, we are here to help you. We will tell you how to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19 so that you can do it in the safest way possible.

What is COVID’s impact on the body

First of all, we need to explain how COVID-19 affects your body. When you exercise, your heart rate increases, and your breathing rate increases. This enables your body to absorb more oxygen and transfer it to your muscles for exercise. However, since coronavirus is a respiratory sickness, it primarily affects your lungs and breathing. Even if you’ve healed from coronavirus, you may continue to have symptoms long after the virus has gone. For example, you may still feel weary, out of breath, or have muscular aches and pains. Understandably, these symptoms may make going out and about more challenging, especially when you want to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19.

A person holding a thermometer that shows the temperature of 37.0 C.

COVID can leave lasting damage that makes it difficult to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19.

Most persons who get coronavirus can manage their symptoms at home and typically recover within a few weeks. However, symptoms may persist months after the illness has cleared. This is referred to as long COVID. According to research, coronavirus has also been linked to more significant issues with the lungs, heart, blood vessels, and other physiological systems. If you have (or have had) any heart or lung-related symptoms during your illness, you should see a medical expert before exercising.

If wondering how to return to exercise after you’ve had COVID-19, begin slowly

It is essential to give yourself time to acclimate to training. When you return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19, you need to be slow if you don’t want to injure yourself. Athletes of all ages should return to exercise progressively. Begin with a stroll, and if that seems comfortable, progress to a fast walk the following day. Then gradually increase the amount of time you walk. If you have been doing hard-hitting HIIT training, you need to give yourself at least a few weeks of LISS before going all out again.

If you love lifting weights, you may want to start with a simple home exercise routine at first. Then, as you realize your new limits, you can go back to lifting heavy. This should go without saying, but we would advise you to train under a doctor’s supervision for the first few weeks.

A person speed walking along a narrow park path.

When you recommence training, you must begin slowly and gradually build up to your previous training regimen.

People who have recovered from COVID-19 should be cautious of specific symptoms once they restart their workout routine. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should discontinue your exercise regimen and talk with your doctor:

  • Chest ache
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Significant increase in heart rate

Make new goals for yourself

While we would love to tell you that you should quickly return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19, for most people, that won’t be possible. If you had a more severe case of Covid-19, a case that left you with permanent damages, you might need to reevaluate your fitness goals completely.

It is essential not to be obsessive in a situation like this. If you are, it will quickly lead to overtraining, and it can end up hurting you more than it will benefit you. Just because you can’t reach the goals you have set earlier doesn’t make you any less of an athlete. You will be an athlete as long as you strive to better yourself and work harder than the last time. If you set realistic goals in your new state, you will be in a much better place, both physically and mentally.

Make sure your nutrition is on point when you return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19

If you weren’t eating a healthy and balanced diet before COVID, now is the time to start. You’d be surprised how much a healthy diet and supplementation can help with COVID-19 recovery. You don’t have to go overboard, but if you were taking creatine, multivitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 supplements before contracting COVID, you could gradually begin reintroducing them into your diet. Furthermore, a healthy diet rich in vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates will provide your body with all the energy it requires to recover from the additional activity that you will introduce.

Take each day as it comes when you return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19

Experts recommend spending seven days at each ‘phase’ of your exercise comeback routine before progressing to harder or longer routines. This means that you should pay attention to how you feel every time you train. Only when you feel like you’re completely recovered from the previous training session should you go on to another. It would help if you did this because you could feel well one day and then feel terrible the next. So, listen to your body, and if you’re having difficulty, reduce your activity levels to the intensity you could handle previously.

A man holding his head in discontent, thinking how to return to exercise.

A man holding his head in discontent, thinking how to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19.

Additionally, it would help if you accepted that every day would be different. You cannot guarantee that you will be able to make linear progress with your training. That is why you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you fail to reach a goal in time. We understand that it can be hard to return to exercise if  you’ve had COVID-19, especially for competitive athletes or passionate fitness enthusiasts.

This change takes a particular toll on mental health. Thankfully, telemedicine companies are out there to help anyone struggling with mental health issues. With these services, you can receive help remotely, through therapy, or just by finding someone to talk to.

Conclusion: how to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19

The long-lasting damage that COVID-19 leaves on people who go through it can be devastating. This is especially the case for athletes. But as you can see, there is a way to get back in shape. All it takes is patience, self-compassion, and dedication. While, in some cases, it is impossible to return to your pre-COVID shape, it is essential to know that it’s not necessary. As long as you do everything you can to better yourself, that will be enough. With that said, we hope that now you know and understand how to return to exercise if you’ve had COVID-19.