The more we learn about Covid-19, the more we learn how unique it is!
What does that mean for your training?
Well, for starters, it means that it’s new territory for you and probably your trainer too. So, with little to zero experience to draw on, the feedback you get from your body becomes even more important.
Regardless of whether you are dying to get back to training, or feeling really nervous about it, here are 5 phases that will safely guide you back into exercise
(NB these phases come from a recent study from the BMJ, called Returning to physical activity after covid-19, 2021).
Within the first 7 days of being asymptomatic, focus on breathwork, flexibility/stretching/foam rolling, balance and gentle walking.
Low intensity exercises like walking, yoga, gardening, mobility.
Gradually build time by 10-15min intervals/day
Moderate intensity exercise like strength and aerobic training, at a medium level of exertion. Include rest periods between intervals.
Gradually build by adding one interval per day as tolerated.
Moderate intensity exercise like strength and aerobic training, build with the addition of co-ordination and functioning skills, at a somewhat hard level of exertion.
Return to your regular baseline training regime.
How do I know if I’m progressing at the right rate for my body?
Throughout all of these phases, BMJ suggests you follow these principles:
- Complete a minimum of 7 days at each phase
- Drop back a phase if you are finding it difficult
- Only move up if you are fully recovered from the previous week
- Only exercise if you feel recovered from the previous day, with no new or returning symptoms
- Don’t forget your warmup and cool downs
Something doesn’t feel right…
- If you experience any abnormal shortness of breath for a given activity level, or you have returning symptoms including temperature, lethargy or chest pain, seek medical advice
- Monitor your mood, if you feel more anxious, down or low, speak to someone, and seek medical advice if you are concerned
And just remember, your experience of covid and the way your symptoms impact you are unique. How fast or slow other people return to exercise is irrelevant. Let your body guide your next decision and build slowly. It will take as long as it takes, and that’s OK.
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