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Getting Back into Exercise After COVID-19

We all know exercise can help people recover after illness, but are there any risks after having COVID?

The majority of us, including people with a disability or those recovering from injury or illness, will benefit from daily exercise, which can be crucial to overall wellbeing. But what happens if you’ve had COVID?

The advice is to rest properly and let your body recover when you are sick, and it seems that is even more important after COVID. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can cause severe illness and there are risks of ongoing complications. At Rehab Management we believe that it is best to follow the latest medical advice.

What do doctors say?

The Australian Journal of General Practice, published by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, says after a COVID diagnosis the “pathway back to physical activity needs a roadmap”.

It says as well as respiratory, COVID also commonly affects the cardiovascular, immunological, renal, haematological and neurological systems – with evidence of long-term cardiac damage, exercise intolerance and respiratory complications in some patients.

The RACGP says while physical activity is a key element in recovery, and is beneficial to general wellbeing, COVID patients “will require guidance through a gradual reintroduction of activity”.

Guidelines

The RACGP refers to The Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians guidelines to assist with the safe return of patients to physical activity after COVID-19.

The guidelines say – even for low-risk patients with mild or no symptoms – the advice is for a gradual return to physical activity only after 10 days of proper rest from the onset of symptoms, and at least seven days without symptoms.

The College advises those low-risk patients should start with just 15 minutes of light activity such as walking, stationary bike or light jogging, and monitor their symptoms. If things are going OK, the College suggests to initially stick to only light activity but gradually increase its duration, before trying to increase the intensity of the activity.

Taking it slowly is key!

Seek advice and help

The College recommends people who were sick with COVID for more than seven days, or hospitalised, or those who have other health issues, should seek medical advice before resuming any exercise.

It would seem logical for anyone with a disability, or who was already undergoing rehabilitation and recovery after an injury or illness, to seek expert advice.

Rehab Management has delivered rehabilitation, health, and wellbeing solutions for all our clients and we can help you when returning to exercise after a bout of COVID.

Consensus

Recent articles show most doctors, and fitness experts, agree. University of Melbourne senior lecturer in physiotherapy Dr Selina Parry told ABC news online that “gentle exercise” might be as simple as doing a few minutes of housework or gardening.

UK GP and fitness instructor Dr Folusha Oluwajana told womenshealthmag.com that doing too much too soon could actually impede recovery. And in California, Stanford Medicine professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation Dr Michael Fredericson told everydayhealth.com that the risk of complications such as myocarditis meant people should be “very careful” about returning to exercise, adding whatever your physical condition it was best to chat to your doctor first.

How we can help

For more than 22 years, Rehab Management has delivered rehabilitation, health, and wellbeing solutions for all our clients. We have professionals working across a wide range of disciplines to achieve the best outcomes for all our clients, whatever their needs. Find out more at our website: https://www.rehabmanagement.com.au/our-services/

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