When and How Should You Restart Your Workouts After Having COVID-19?

Safe and effective exercising after an accident or sickness might need a more cautious approach. Jumping back into your exercises too soon without giving your body time to rest and repair might make it more difficult to get in shape again or possibly cause relapse.

Complications like myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation), make it difficult for long haulers (those who suffer COVID-19 symptoms for an extended period) to return to regular exercise.

Since COVID-19 is difficult for anybody, regardless of age or fitness level, it is recommended that anyone considering engaging in strenuous physical activity consult with their doctor beforehand.

The latest suggestions and rules are summarized here.

An Individualized Approach to Restart Exercise

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) located at New York City has established guidelines for returning COVID-19-positive recreational athletes to competition.

The symptoms of COVID-19 may manifest themselves in a broad range of ways, depending on the individual person infected. There is presently no formula to identify precisely how and when an individual should return to activities after recovery from COVID-19 since everyone heals at their own pace.

Everyone, even those with just symptoms ranging from mild to severe or even those with zero symptoms, should get in touch with their healthcare professional to discuss the safest way to resume exercise and gradually build up to higher intensities.

  • Patients with COVID-19 who continue to have a fever, chest discomfort, cough, dyspnea (breathlessness) at rest, or palpitations should not resume exercise.

  • Even in the absence of symptoms, patients with preexisting cardiopulmonary conditions should get a doctor's OK before getting back into an activity routine after recovering from COVID-19.

  • Patients with self-limited cases of COVID-19 who have been symptom-free for a week are cleared to resume moderate-intensity, low-volume exercise.

  • Patients infected with COVID-19 who have chest discomfort, fever, palpitations, or dyspnea should see a doctor after restarting activity.

If we remember that every person is unique and that the activity they are returning to is also different for each person, these rules make sense and are suitable. Some individuals may find it too difficult to begin at 50% of what they did before they contracted the virus. It's possible that further tweaking is required.

Although these recommendations predate the appearance of the delta variation of COVID-19 (and others), they are still applicable to instances caused by these other strains.

When working out in a crowded indoor space, it's best to wear a mask and keep your distance from other people. Although the risk of contracting COVID-19 is reduced in outdoor settings, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors.

Guidelines for Resuming Physical Activity Following Mild or Moderate Cases of COVID-19

Here are some things to remember before getting back into your training program.

You Shouldn't work out if you're still Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms.

People should keep in mind that they shouldn't exercise if they're still experiencing any of their symptoms (such as a temperature, extreme exhaustion, or difficulty breathing). Instead, folks should rest for 7-10 days after their symptoms have subsided before getting back into an activity routine.

You should never work out if you have any signs of illness or an active infection. Working out while suffering from a viral illness may worsen your condition and bring on a host of new problems.

Ease into it and Work Your way up to Full Speed.

Your post-COVID-19 exercise regimen depends on your prior activity level. Start a walking regimen and progressively increase distance and pace for most people. After a few weeks, you may safely increase aerobic training intensity.

Start with a stationary bike, elliptical, or swimming. You may return to your usual routines if you can progressively raise your training intensity over a few weeks without adverse effects.

For serious exercisers who customize their programs based on heart rate zones or other perceived effort, the National Strength and Conditioning Association's standards may work (after discussing with your doctor). The four-week regimen assures pre-injury fitness.

For the first week, reduce your activities by 50%. If that works, reduce 30%, 20%, and 10% for a week. The four-week approach lets you safely resume your workout regimen before becoming ill. However, only continue the routine if you feel well after each boost.

Since everyone's rehab and exercise experience is different, keep an eye on how far along you are and whether you feel any discomfort when you work out.

Heed Your Physical Condition, Particularly if you have Cardiac Issues.

Myocarditis following COVID-19 has been a growing problem since our recommendations were established. Taking things easy and paying attention to one's body is especially important under these circumstances.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that may result from the systemic inflammation caused by COVID-19. Arrhythmia, in which the heart beats irregularly, may occur; in certain cases, ventricular arrhythmia can develop, leading to a heart attack.

The condition has been documented in persons with mild to severe instances of COVID-19.

When You Feel Ready to Start Exercising Again if You Have a Long COVID-19

People who have had symptoms for a longer period of time will have to return to exercise in a manner that is both safe and effective in a different method.

These individuals start to feel better but never quite get over the hump; their condition seems to remain the same, and they do not improve. This is what we have seen so far. COVID- 19 long transporters may have severe weariness during typical everyday tasks, headaches on a daily basis, and shortness of breath while doing activities such as climbing stairs or walking to the mailbox. In addition, 19 long haulers may have daily migraines.

These individuals seem to need a significant amount of time to recover, and it is strongly recommended that they not attempt to resume their normal exercise routine while experiencing these symptoms.

These individuals must wait until they are symptom-free before engaging in any kind of physical exercise again, and they should do so under their doctor's supervision.

Updated on: 22-Feb-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started