Exercise is an important part of our everyday lives as it helps us to stay fit and healthy. However, is performing exercises after an illness a good practice? And if yes, how much of it is good to practice? Exercise can greatly help in the recovery process post COVID-19 if followed with the right advice.
Who can benefit from the COVID-19 Recovery Exercise Program?
COVID patients who have an asymptomatic (without symptoms) recovery may not require the Post-COVID exercise regime. This is because they may not experience after-effects such as fatigue, lethargy and others tiredness in their day-to-day activities. Those who have recovered symptomatically from COVID need this program because the post-viral infection causes all of the above after-effects accompanied by difficulty in concentration and mood changes.
That is why we need a safe and good exercise program to improve our health and fitness.
Firstly, it is important to know why we experience symptoms like fatigue and others even after recovering from the illness. They are caused due to the body’s inflammatory response to the post-viral infection.
When to start and how to start exercise post COVID-19?
‘When to start’ and ‘How to start’ are two important aspects of the Post-COVID exercise regime.
Here are some pre-exercise tips to follow:
- Breathing: Before we begin any exercise, we need to make sure our breathing is good and our muscles and the other parts of our body are in alignment.
- Sleep: U should also ensure U are sleeping properly. Sleeps help UR cells and body facilitate UR healing. It is advisable to get at least 8 hours of sleep during the post-COVID recovery. Once U are sure U have had enough sleep and UR energy levels are high, U can commence UR post-COVID exercise regimen.
- Symptom free: Another parameter to consider is UR ability to perform small activities like walking in UR living area, post recovery.
Warm ups and cool downs are an important part of UR exercise routine. They help the body relax and return to its normal state.
Post-COVID Exercise Regime
Exercise helps U to improve UR fitness, UR muscle strength, reduce breathlessness and improve thinking and boost UR confidence and improve day-today activities. The best way to regain UR fitness post COVID is to start with walking.
Here are some exercises on how U can overcome post-COVID symptoms and get back to a normal life.
Follow the below walking plan to begin UR post-COVID exercise routine:
- Week 1: U can start with 5-10 minutes of walking
- Week 2: U can increase it to 10-15 minutes of walking
- Week 3: 15-20 minutes of walking
- Week 4: 20-25 minutes of walking
- Week 5: 25-30 minutes of walking
From the 6th week U can practice half an hour of walking.
Walking is very helpful in regaining UR fitness. It increases UR muscle strength and UR overall warmup.
Other Forms of Fitness Exercises (To improve UR individual muscles).
U can do the following as part of UR warm up:
- Shoulder Shrugs (Up-down movement)
- Shoulder Circles,
- Marching by raising UR legs up and down for about 2-4 minutes
- Turn UR body towards the left and right with UR arms stretched out
- Side-ways Bends (towards left and right)
- Font, back and side kicks
Each exercise can be done for 2-4 times. U can relax after this and start the strengthening exercises.
Even after 3 months U require respiratory physiotherapy. This is because the Corona virus effects UR lungs and reduces its elasticity. U may also be affected with fibrosis in the lungs. U can improve the lung volume and lung capacity by practicing breathing exercises and strengthening the chest muscles, breathing accessory muscles and the diaphragm. By doing this U can regain UR lung capacity, bring down UR lung inflammation and improve UR confidence in performing daily activities post-COVID.
Minimum strengthening exercises should be done for half an hour per day and then gradually increase the timings every weak. U can do each exercise in a minimum of 3 –maximum of 10 sets. U can exercise with weights – dumbbells, bicep curls, and tricep exercises (in upward movement)
For leg strengthening, U can do this by lying down or standing up. U can also practice strengthening by climbing stairs and marching. U can also exercise at the gym with low weights. During the strengthening exercises, UR breathing is also very important.
4.Cool Down Exercises
For cool down exercises, U have to stretch all the muscles. These can be done for 2-5 minutes. Here are some cool down exercises:
- Stretch UR hamstring: U can stretch UR hamstring with or without taking support. U can also stretch UR hamstring and calf together.
- Stretch UR quadriceps: U can stretch UR quadriceps by pushing UR leg backward.
- Stretch UR Back/Front: U can do these exercises to relax UR spine.
- Side Stretches: U can hold UR hands together upwards and stretch towards UR left or right side.
U can also practice bicep stretches, triceps stretches (upwards) and the glute stretches (by holding each of UR leg horizontally).