We have been asked many times over and over, what is the best exercise post COVID? Research suggests that a slow and patient approach when returning to exercise is crucial in reducing and minimising long term health consequences, and potentially avoiding what is known as “long COVID”. It's normal for people to want to bounce back as quickly as possible from pre COVID infection. While we fully encourage movement, we also need to look at the science to have a sensible and well-informed approach!
I personally found it took four weeks to get back to where I felt my energy and health levels were pre infection. The virus seems to affect different people in different ways. Acute (early initial phases) to chronic (medium to long term) has the potential to have negative effects on many of our body’s systems and organs.
Here are our tips for returning to exercise after COVID :
1. Don’t push yourself - Let’s stay away from the classic kiwi push on through attitude. Stressing your body will be counterproductive to recovery, so aim to start at 50% of your usual capacity and build from there.
2. Support your immune system. There is some pretty clear and overwhelming evidence that Vitamin D can massively help reduce symptoms. Let’s also have a look at your food, are we fuelling our bodies correctly? Think of your B vitamins, Vit C, zinc, magnesium and avoiding inflammatory foods.
3. Listening to your body is now more important than ever, if exercise is exhausting or tiring you, let’s look to lighten the load. Be aware of your breathing rate, heart flutters and anything else abnormal. Typically, in COVID recovery we are finding much higher resting heart rates, so be aware about how this will affect your daily life and exercise!
4. Progression! The golden rule is start low and go slow. If you normally run for 30 minutes then knock it right back, let's go for a walk for 20 mins and see how we feel because these symptoms they come on while you're exercising, but it's often the delayed on-set that people start to feel sluggish or weary.
5. There is strong evidence that the practice of yoga and meditation helps improve lung health, reduce viral susceptibility and speed the recovery from acute respiratory infections thanks to their relaxing effects. Controlling stress and anxiety is critical for recovery, it’s very important to look at strategies such as meditation, mindfulness and yoga to help the body to recover from infection. The downshifting and natural movement from Universal Wellbeing philosophy tie in so well together, some gentle exercise and calming the mind to reduce stress are a great starting point!
Reach out anytime if you have any questions – www.redefined.nz
Jimmy – ReDefined Founder