Tens of millions of Americans have contracted the COVID-19 virus, and odds are more than a few readers of this blog have dealt with and overcome the virus themselves. However, for about 10 percent of patients who beat COVID, symptoms don’t disappear the moment they are asymptomatic. Roughly 1 in 10 individuals deal with what’s been classified as “long-haul” COVID, meaning that although they are no longer actively dealing with the virus, they are stuck with some of the symptoms associated with the active virus.
The most common long-haul COVID symptoms include breathing difficulties, lack of energy or endurance, balance issues and overall muscle weakness. As you might imagine, these symptoms can make it difficult or even dangerous for a person to stay physically active, and that can lead people to shift to a sedentary lifestyle, which isn’t healthy either. So how can you stay active in spite of the long-haul symptoms associated with COVID-19? Below, we explain how a physical therapist can help you get back to physical activity after you’ve dealt with COVID-19.
Returning To Activity After A COVID-19 Diagnosis
If you are one of the countless Americans who just aren’t feeling completely back to normal following a battle with COVID-19, know that you’re not alone. That said, it’s also important to realize that everything may not just come back to normal on its own, you may have to work to get back to that physically fit version of yourself. Here are some tips for doing that.
1. Start Moving
This may sound easier said than done, but the best way to work back towards a more physically fit version of yourself is to simply start moving more. Each day, try to be a little more active than the day before. We don’t expect you to go run a 5K or do a 45-minute workout in the basement, but start small and find ways to get your blood pumping and your heart rate up. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, or do a 10-minute exercise routine while you’re watching television. Even in small doses, movement and exercise helps to strengthen muscles and build up your lung capacity. Strive to make each day more active than the last, but start small and keep progress slow so as not to overwhelm yourself.
2. Walk More
This falls in line with the above tip, but try to incorporate more walking into your daily life. You don’t even need to go outside to do it, you can walk up and down stairs or do laps around the living room for 15 minutes. It may sound easy, but you want to be able to walk and carry a conversation at the same time, and after COVID-19, it may take longer than expected to build up this lung capacity and endurance. Stay within your limits and slowly build up your distance or pace, and you’ll find it easy to move.
3. Start Running Or Jogging
Once you’re able to go for longer walks without getting winded, start jogging for short intervals. This will really test your lung health and your overall fitness, and don’t get discouraged if you can only run for a minute or two before you need to walk again. The goal here is to slowly build up your endurance without overloading your lungs, your legs and your body. Even if you don’t plan to continue running once you’re back to full health, running is the activity that can really help you clear those last hurdles and get back to a place where you feel back to full physical function.
4. Connect With A Physical Therapist
Finally, if you want a little professional assistance getting back to full health following a COVID-19 diagnosis, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists. Our team of physical therapists can conduct a baseline assessment to determine your strengths and deficits and cultivate a therapy plan tailored to your needs. From breathing and balance exercises to targeted muscle strengthening, we are confident that we can get you back to the best version of yourself after a COVID diagnosis. For more information, or for help with your physical condition, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.