It is important to ease back slowly into exercise after catching Covid to avoid overloading the body with stress and risking a relapse, a registered nurse has revealed.
With close to half a million Australians suffering from an active case of the virus right now, a registered nurse and qualified health researcher, Madeline Calfas, outlined a basic guide to reintroducing exercise – and the ‘stair test’ that will tell you if you is ready.
Ms Calfas told the Daily Mail Australia that the side effects of Covid are ‘long and varied’, making it difficult to determine how quickly someone can start exercising again.
Mrs Calfas recommends starting with a simple ‘stair test’ by going up a flight of stairs and seeing how you feel during and after; if you do it without feeling short of breath, short of breath or dizzy, then you are ready to return to your routine.
With close to half a million Australians suffering from an active case of the virus right now, a registered nurse and qualified health researcher, Madeline Calfas, outlined a basic guide to reintroducing exercise – and the ‘stair test’ that will tell you if you is ready
Ms Calfas told the Daily Mail Australia that the side effects of Covid are ‘long and varied’, making it difficult to determine how quickly someone can start exercising again
“The key word here is EASY in it – aim for one workout a week with a mild to moderate intensity and assess how you feel during the workout, immediately after and the next day,” she said.
‘For those who barely registered that they were sick at all, your recovery time will generally be much faster (around 5-7 days) than someone who was more severely affected (ranging from several weeks to chronic and persistent).
“That said, even those whose acute phase of the disease was mild may still be affected by ‘Long Covid’, which are Covid-related symptoms after the virus has disappeared from your body.”
What are the symptoms and side effects of Covid-19?
Most common symptoms:
- Loss of taste or smell
- Uncommon symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Pain and aches
- Red or irritated eyes
The side effects of Covid are long and varied. Not everyone will get them all, and the variant of Covid you have may also play a role in some of the symptoms, ‘said Mrs Calfas
‘Most commonly, fever, sore throat, headache, body aches, fatigue, persistent cough, chills and sweating, loss of taste and smell and diarrhea have been associated with covid infection.’
How should I reintroduce physical activity into my schedule?
First of all, it’s important to make sure you’re fully recovered from the virus before returning to your usual HIIT class – this means paying attention to how you feel after everyday activities, such as walking in shops or take a brisk walk.
‘Covid (like all diseases) puts your body under stress. Exercise also puts the body under stress, and if you have not fully recovered, then you add up essentially all this stress and your body is far less able to handle it, ‘continued Mrs Calfas.
‘In fact, the extra stress of training can make you fall back and potentially end up getting even sicker than you were at first.’
If you are unsure whether it is ‘safe’ to return to exercise, Mrs Calfa suggested the ‘stair test’ and go up a single staircase once.
“If you can get up without getting too short of breath, and without feeling dizzy or feeling like you are fainting, then you should be fine with starting to relax again,” she said.
But if you are feeling well, you can add another workout to your week with a few days for recovery in between.
“The key word here is EASE in it – aim for one workout a week with a mild to moderate intensity and assess how you feel during the workout, immediately after and the next day,” Ms Calfas said
“When you are back to the same number of workouts that you were to before, then you can start slowly increasing the intensity,” Ms Calfas said.
She added that while it can be frustrating to walk on such a slow side, it is necessary to measure how your body is doing.
It is also worth noting how you feel during, after and the next day as this is a ‘key indicator’ of how your body is doing.
How to get back after Covid:
2. Monitor how you are feeling
3. Start walking after the symptoms subside
Do a ‘stair test’ by going up a single staircase and see how you feel – if you are short of breath you may need more time to rest
Start exercising once a week with low-intensity exercise
6. Gradually increase your workout
7. Monitor how you are feeling and stay hydrated
How do I train to get back to training?
While it might be tempting to jump back to your regular F45 class, Mrs Calfas advised against this and recommends that you start ‘carefully’.
“Higher intensity exercises such as running, long distance cycling, HIIT and weight training should be avoided until you have successfully returned to the lower intensity activities without any negative effects,” she said.
A low-intensity alternative could include yoga, pilates or going for a walk.
What should I do if I still experience signs of fatigue?
It can only take a week for the common symptoms of Covid, such as fever, runny nose or cough, to subside – but signs of fatigue can persist for weeks.
If this is the case then stop exercising immediately and rest.
‘If you exercise and you experience signs of fatigue, STOP. This is not the time to push through, ‘said Mrs Calfas.
‘The type of fatigue you experience after taking Covid is not the same as the type of fatigue you experience when you normally exercise.’
She advised listening to your body and ‘adjusting your workout routine’ with fewer workouts of less intensity and more time to recover.
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