News and Announcements
Returning to Physical Activity After COVID-19
By Exercise Specialists Erin McHugh and LaShawn Michalski
After recovering from COVID-19, it is very important to get back into (or to begin) an exercise program. Consult your doctor before starting your exercise program, and return to exercise only after at least seven days of no symptoms.
Returning to exercise can be broken down into phases, beginning with light intensity activity for at least two weeks. This includes household chores and light gardening, gentle walking, and light yoga/stretching activities. You should be able to hold a full conversation during physical activity without any difficulty.
Next you can progress to more challenging, moderate intensity activities, such as brisk walking, going up and down stairs, jogging, swimming, cycling, and light strength training using your own body weight or light weights.
Lastly, you can add more intense activity, such as running and strength training at a higher intensity and workload.
Everyone has different fitness levels and progression depends on many factors, including your pre-illness fitness level, and how COVID-19 affected you. Plan to stay at each phase for a minimum of seven days. Allow adequate recovery time between each exercise session, and focus on stretching before and after exercise to expand your chest and lungs. In addition to its physical benefits, exercise can have a positive effect on your mental health by encouraging the release of dopamine and endorphins in your brain that make you feel happy, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression.