Physical activity and health have never been more important than they are right now. We all know the physical and mental benefits of exercise but with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic it has brought peoples health into the spotlight. It has been reported that people less physically active prior to getting COVID-19 have a higher risk of severe outcomes from the virus than those who are regularly physically active, according to a new study “Physical inactivity is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes:a study in 48,440 adult patients, published in the British Journal of Medicine, April 13th.”
As we try to immunise the world, the most likely scenario for the next few years is that COVID-19 will be more like other infectious diseases, such as flu, that we will continuously manage and protect ourselves against.
Exercise is one of the best ways to do that. We know that physical activity is one of the most effective ways to prevent chronic diseases, along with diet and quitting smoking.
A study in 2008 found that physical inactivity is responsible for more than five million premature deaths every year- “Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy, The Lancet, 2012.”
It is important that anyone taking part in a new exercise regime understands their current health status and that the regime meets the individuals current ability level, so that additional stress is not put on the body. It is also helpful if the development of physical activity and movement quality can be achieved gradually over time and there is an assessment whereby the individual can see progress .
Anyone returning to exercise after contracting Covid 19 should be aware of the current Considerations and recommendations for recreational athletes returning to activity after COVID-19.
Each patient with COVID-19 is unique. Although general patterns in COVID-19 have been reported, there is a wide variance of disease expression. Each patient with COVID-19 recovers at a unique rate. There is currently no algorithm guiding a patient’s stepwise return to activity. The severity of disease appears to affect the duration of recovery, although this has yet to be proven. Return to activity after COVID-19 should be guided by a body-system approach that includes the cardiac, pulmonary, hematologic, musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal systems. Clinicians should advise patients to return to activity in a slow, gradual, stepwise manner. Patients should be given instructions to speak with their health care provider should they develop symptoms in the body systems listed above.
Exercise should not resume if a patient with COVID-19 has persistent fever, dyspnea at rest, cough, chest pain, or palpitations. Any COVID-19 patient with an underlying cardiovascular or pulmonary condition should consult a physician prior to resumption of exercise, even if asymptomatic. An otherwise healthy patient with a self-limited course of COVID-19 who has been asymptomatic for 7 days may begin resuming physical activity at 50% of normal intensity and volume. Consultation with a physician is recommended if patients who have had COVID-19 develop chest pain, fever, palpitations, or dyspnea on the resumption of exercise." https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s11420-020-09777-1.pdf
Jordan D. Metzl, MD & Kathryn McElheny, MD & James N. Robinson, MD & Daphne A. Scott, MD & Karen M. Sutton, MD & Brett G. Toresdahl, MD. Considerations for Return to Exercise Following Mild-to-Moderate COVID-19 in the Recreational Athlete. HSSJ (2020) 16 (Suppl 1):S102–S107
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