How to Exercise After COVID-19 Recovery

By Dr. Methmal Subasinghe (MBBS) | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 9 2021
Health How to Exercise After COVID-19 Recovery

By Dr. Methmal Subasinghe (MBBS)

 Prevention is better than cure. For the fast-spreading COVID-19, prevention is the best treatment. Millions of people in the world have contracted the lethal coronavirus, some have died while others recovered. For those who recovered from COVID-19, side effects may bother them for some time.

 When a person contracts the virus, damage to the lungs, liver and other organs in the body is inevitable. It is normal and natural for the body to take some time to recover from the damage. After recovery, a person should not attempt to jump back to his old life. Gradual steps should be taken to get back to ordinary life. Even though the health authorities state that a patient who contracts COVID- 19 recovers after 14 days, his body does not get back to the previous state for another couple of weeks, or even in some cases it can take months.

Exercising is highly recommended for those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the period of recuperation yet in moderation. Exercising can help improve fitness, to reduce shortness of breath, improve balance, strength, and energy in the body. Exercise also helps a recoveree to improve mood and brain functions. 

However, those who suffer from chronic illnesses and serious non-communicable diseases should obtain medical advice prior to returning to exercise activities. If someone feels nausea, giddiness, tightness in the chest, body pain and severe shortness of breath should not return to their exercise regime immediately without consulting a physician.  They can engage in various activities which do not drain energy levels.

In the recuperation period, a person can engage in activities as gradual steps to getting back to normal. Meditating, listening to music, engaging in hobbies, enjoying healthy and tasty food, reading a favourite book, laughing, spending time with pets and in nature, meditating, relaxing, and doing light exercise to keep fit.

 Relaxation is highly advisable for any patient who has recovered from COVID-19. Relaxation has a plethora of benefits, although people do not give much attention to it. When a person is relaxed, blood circulation increases in the body giving more energy for a person to function. Apart from its benefits to the physical body, the psychological benefits can never be underestimated. It elevates mood, induces more positive thoughts which are essential during the recuperation period, increases concentration, helps decision making, and improves memory which might have been affected due to the infection of COVID-19.

 How to exercise

Not only for patients who have recovered from COVID-19 infection, for anyone, but it is also recommended to do warm-up exercises before as well as cool down exercises once the exercise is over. One should not exercise right after or before meals. It is important to dress in loose and comfy outfits. Drinking plenty of water or orange or lime-infused water is recommended during exercise. Exercising in extreme weather conditions is also not advisable.

Warming up exercises prepares the body for exercise and prevents injury. It is enough to do warm exercises for 5 minutes. You can slowly engage in warm exercises.

 The following warm-up exercises are recommended for those who have recovered from COVID-19:

 Shoulder lifting - Slowly lift the shoulders towards the ears and then lower them slowly. Repeat five times.

Circling shoulders - Circle shoulders forward and backward. Repeat 10 times.

Knee lifting - Sit on a chair and slowly lift your knee and then place it on the floor. Repeat five times.

Bending sideways - Stand straight. Bend to your right. Come back to the original position. Then bend to the left. Come back to the original position. Repeat five times.

Ankle circles - Sit comfortably on a chair. Raise your leg and make circles with the ankle. Count up to 10. Do the same to the other leg.

Once the warm-up exercises are done, exercising can begin. Engaging in exercise for 20-25 minutes a day is recommended.

Marching on the spot - Stand straight. Lift the knee to the highest possible height. Place it down. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat.

Bicep curl- Place your arms by your side. Hold a weight in each hand with the palms facing forwards. Do not move the top part of your arm. Gently lift the lower part of both arms. You can bend at the elbows. Lift the weight. For those who find it difficult to stand, doing this while sitting is recommended.

 Wall push off-Place your hands flat against a wall at shoulder level. Place your feet about a foot away from the wall.  Keep the body straight. Slowly lower the body towards the wall by bending your elbows. Then gently push away from the wall until the arms are straight. Repeat this several times.

Sitting and standing- Sit comfortably on a chair. Then stand. Sit again. Repeat several times.

Squats - You can also do squats.

Walking and cycling - Walking on a flat surface are recommended. When walking or cycling, it is not recommended to walk or cycle long distances. Do it with short distances and gradually increase the distance.

Cooldown exercises are as important as warm-up ones. Once the exercise is done, the following cool-down exercises can be done. Do the cool-down exercises for about minutes. You can do the same warm-up exercise to cool your body down. Additionally, stretching muscles and shoulders can also help cool down.

By Dr. Methmal Subasinghe (MBBS) | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 9 2021

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