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Breaking the Barriers of Exercise


7 min read

Do U have a fitness routine? Do U follow an exercise regime every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle? If yes, then U must know that exercise also plays a crucial role in overcoming the side-effects of COVID-19.

Today we are going to throw light on some COVID Rehabilitation techniques and the challenges we encounter in these rehabilitation exercises.

U must all be aware of COVID symptoms and the devastating problems that the COVID infection causes. As we all know, COVID primarily affects the lungs and results in a lot of infection in the lungs. While we prescribe some medicines to stop the spread of infection, it is also essential to do some exercises to restore the respiratory system’s functioning. Medicines cannot repair our respiratory system alone; we have to do some exercises to bring back the normal functioning of the respiratory system.

Breaking the barriers of exercise

We are going to look at those exercises and a proper rehabilitation program that are primarily targeting the lungs. We also target the general body because the lungs supply oxygen to the entire body. In the same way, we have to improve the function of the other systems such as the muscular system and the cardiac system by performing general exercises, not just breathing exercises. General exercises create a demand for oxygen and that oxygen is supplied by our respiratory system.

All the systems in our body are linked to each other. So, that is why we need to perform exercises for the other parts of the body as well.

Train UR Mind

The Mind has an important role in this rehabilitation program. It is important to note that the mind is the one which remembers, memorizes, plans and executes the exercise. It also feels the exercise, plans UR next exercise and, how U react to the next exercise.

Barriers to Exercise

Barriers keep U away from exercise. Only UR mind can encounter them. So, what are these barriers to exercise?

    There are two barriers:

  1. Environmental Barriers
  2. Personal Barriers
    Environmental Barriers include factors such as:

  • Lack of proximity to the gym
  • Insufficient equipment
  • Absence of a trainer
    Personal Barriers include:

  • Lack of self –motivation
  • Lack of knowledge on exercises
  • Lack of proper energy to do the exercise
    Both of these barriers can be overcome by:

  • Proper planning
  • Proper execution
  • Proper support from family and friends
  • Proper sources of information
  • Self-motivation

The journey to a faster recovery post COVID-19 begins with the knowledge of exercise best practices. Restore lung health and normal respiratory functioning with exercise tips and techniques.

Breaking the Barriers of Exercise
Breathing and General Exercises

We all have some prior knowledge of some breathing exercises. We are going to discuss them in detail.

All exercises are divided into three parts:

  1. The warm up
  2. The main exercise
  3. The cool down period

All the three phases are important for all the exercises.

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Warm up Exercises:

These exercises are less in intensity, as U don’t have to put much effort in these exercises. Here are some warm-up exercises:

  1. Simple hand movements: Sit relaxed in a chair and stretch UR arms forward. Then bend UR arms (upwards) towards U and inhale. Likewise, extend UR arms (away from U) and exhale. Repeat this exercise for about 20 times and take a break after every 5th repetition.U must take a break as the respiratory system tires very easily because U are increasing UR lung capacity and putting a lot of pressure on UR lungs. This exercise causes dizziness as well.
  2. Stretch UR arms (apart): Stretch UR arms apart and bend them (towards UR shoulders) while inhaling. Then stretch them away from U while exhaling. Take a break after every 5th repetition.
  3. Upper Body exercise: Stand upright and bend UR body while exhaling. Restore UR normal position while inhaling.
  4. Simple Squat: This exercise is of higher intensity and involves the lower body as well. Turn to UR side (left) and clasp Ur palms together. Then while U inhale, do a simple squat. In the same way, exhale while U stand upright.Repeat this exercise for about 20 times and take a break after every 5th repetition.This exercise completes the warm up.

The main exercise targets the respiratory system directly. In this form, the first exercise is just a battle. We want U to learn the battle of breathing first and then move on to the proper exercises next.

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing:

There is a pattern which U must follow for breathing. That breathing pattern facilitates the most effective flow of air in and out of the lungs. So, with this pattern U are ventilating UR lungs to the deepest. This exercise is called the Diaphragmatic breathing, which enables U to use the diaphragm and draw more air inside. That’s the main objective of this exercise.


    1. Place one hand (right) over UR stomach and the other hand (left) on top of the chest.
    2. While in this position, U should inhale (through UR nose) in a way that UR right hand placed on the stomach moves upward.
    3. Hold UR position for 2 seconds and then exhale air (through UR mouth), which automatically causes UR right hand to move inwards on the stomach.U have to ensure that the right and left hands are in coordination with each other through this exercise. There should be less exertion in the left hand compared to the right one.
    4. Repeat this exercise for about 20 times and take a break after every 5th repetition to avoid tiredness and dizziness.

While performing this exercise, we should use the respiratory muscles (muscles situated on the upper chest) less, as excessive usage will tire U even more.

2. Chest Expansion Breathing:

We also need to increase the capacity of the chest. The chest is guarded by ribs on all the four sides. Between those bones, we have to mobilize the joints to expand that part of the chest. Expanding this area, will give U more room for the air to come inside; it improves oxygenation. When U mobilize it, the capacity of air that comes in increases. We have to stretch the front chest muscles and mobilize the joints on the front of the chest.

Method 1:

  1. Clasp UR hands and put them behind UR neck.
  2. Bend a little bit to let UR joints and ribs come closer
  3. While in this position, U should inhale and bend backwards
  4. Hold UR breath for 2 seconds and then let the air outside through UR mouth while bending again

This exercise expands UR front chest, the rib cage, the sternum and reduces the tightness in the chest muscles, enabling more air passage into the lungs, increasing oxygenation.

Method 2 (Individual Lung Expansion – Right):

  1. Extend UR right arm (bent diagonally towards the right side)
  2. Breathe in (through UR nose) while U are in the position and bend towards the left side
  3. Hold UR breath for two seconds
  4. Exhale (from UR mouth) while coming back to resume UR original position

This exercise focuses on the right lung. By doing this exercise, we are expanding the ribs and letting more air inside. Likewise, while we exhaling, we are performing compression of our ribs. In this way, we are promoting joint mobilization and expanding the chest.

Method 3 (Individual Lung Expansion – Left):

Repeat the previous exercise for the left lung, starting from the left side.

Method 4 (Fist exercises for right and left lungs):

  1. First, make a fist (with UR right hand) and press it against UR chest wall
  2. Hold this position and inhale while bending towards UR left
  3. Now exhale while resuming UR original position

These exercises increase UR chest volumes. Repeat the same process with the left hand.

How to Clear Secretions from the Lung

Like all other chest infections, COVID infects the lungs and causes some secretions in the lungs. Clearing secretions such as sputum and phlegm is also part of the rehabilitation. U can do this with the help of a technique called ACBT – Active Cycle Breathing Technique.


  1. Seat URself properly on a chair
  2. Take a deep breath and then while exhaling, U have to cough

By doing this, U are expelling the phlegm from the lungs. This exercise helps clear the lungs and improve chest volume.

Cool down Period

The cool down period also involves some breathing and some stretching. U have to relax UR chest muscles by stretching.


  1. Stand aright and clasp UR palms
  2. Raise them up while doing shallow inhaling.
  3. Exhale slowly and bring UR hands down gently.

The goal of this exercise is to bring in relaxation. Repeat the exercise 6 times and take a break for 2 minutes after 3 repetitions.