People recovering from illness COVID-19 They seek to rebuild their normal life. The majority of people (80%) who get the coronavirus pass through the infection and fully recover.
But other patients develop complications that may have mild or moderate sequelae that last for several months, so they need a medical follow-up. Thus, experts consulted by Infobae highlighted the importance of carrying out a complete medical check-up after going through the disease and to return to normal activities, as well as physical activity or the intense practice of a sport.
“In case of having suffered from COVID after medical discharge 15 days is recommended until you gradually return to sport. The first recommended exercise is the bicycle because it does not require supporting the same weight of the body. Any activity that allows us to talk is the ideal aerobic point to start with the exercise”, explained the doctor Jorge Francella, Director of the Physical Activity Program for Health and Sport at Hospital de Clínicas.
The expert stated that to discharge the patient, his medical history is first reviewed. “The studies that are requested to discharge and to return to sport are a physical exam and an EKG and routine blood tests”, he indicated. And he added: “In the case of wanting to return to sport, we propose an ergometry or stress test. The ergometry must be done according to the following characteristics: it must be done as usual but, at the time of the report, a unit called MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Work) must be mentioned, which means how much oxygen the body consumes for each function it performs. Examples: The body in its normal state expends 1 met while sleeping, 2 met while sitting, and 3 met while actively walking a block. 4 mets the activities of the day. Going over 10 mets is being frankly active and above 13 mets we find most sports. With this stress test you can know the limits of each person”, concluded Franchella.
“Athletes have the same risk of contracting COVID-19 disease as the general population, but with a low risk of complications. The latter consist of the development of an exaggerated inflammatory response with lung and myocardial damage and thromboembolic manifestations. Due to the complex pathophysiology that this infection entails, we must not ignore the possibility of developing other conditions such as coagulation disorders, venous thrombosis and possible pulmonary thromboembolism, beyond the potential myocardial complications”, authorities of the Argentine Society of Cardiology (SAC) together with the Argentine Cardiological Federation (FCA).
walk before running
Experts recommend a gradual, phased return to exercise after having COVID-19, suggesting that you literally You must walk before you can run.
“This approach is to make sure the body’s immune system doesn’t get too challenged too soon. If you had symptoms while you had COVID, that means your immune system has had a bit of a hard time controlling this infection. You should keep this in mind during your recovery, even if you feel fine now. “Even if the person no longer shows symptoms, we don’t know if the immune system is completely restored or not,” explains the doctor. Manoj Sivan, clinical associate professor in rehabilitation medicine at the University of Leeds.
And he adds: “If you overdo it too soon, you could delay your recovery. When a person immediately exerts himself at that level of activity [pre- COVID]you are at risk of new symptoms and worsening of existing symptoms. We think it’s because your immune system isn’t ready for that kind of challenge yet. Returning to your usual exercise regimen before a full recovery also increases your risk of developing more serious conditions such as post-exertional malaise (PEM), according to advice published by the World Health Organization. PEM can affect your energy levels, concentration, sleep, and memory, and can cause muscle and joint pain. If you experience it, you should avoid strenuous activity and try to conserve your energy”.
Continuing to push yourself too hard has other risks as well. “After illness, there’s a period where you have to be very careful not to challenge your immune system too much because if you continue to do that and it keeps failing, it could become permanently dysfunctional, and that’s what can lead to long-term problems like chronic fatigue syndrome,” concluded Sivan.
How should we exercise safely after COVID-19?
Ideally, before starting to exercise, you should have no symptoms and be recovered. Once you’re ready to return to exercise, you might consider following the WHO 5-week plan, which provides examples of exercises you can do to build your strength and gradually recover.
“WHO guidelines recommend using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale, an assessment of how hard you feel you are working on a scale of 0 (no effort at all) to 10 (maximum effort). “Perhaps it’s about timing your return to activity based on how you’re feeling, and increasing it only gently so you don’t overexert yourself”, said Dr. David Salman, clinical academic fellow in primary care at Imperial College.
The WHO recommends staying in each of the 5 phases for seven days and only move on to the next phase if you do not experience any worsening of symptoms or ‘crash’. If you experience excessive fatigue or shortness of breath it is recommended that you go back one stage. Be alert for any red flag symptoms such as: shortness of breath at rest, chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, worsening “brain fog” or confusion, weakness in the face, arm, or leg, or health problems mental. If you experience any of these, the WHO recommends that you consult a healthcare professional.
In addition, the medical community stresses that it is very likely that The physical inactivity that was maintained, either due to having had the disease, as well as in those who did not exercise due to confinement measures, has a medium and long-term impact on physical health and mental well-being. Specialists emphasize the importance of exercising again, of resuming healthy routines that we had before the pandemic, given the worrying advance of sedentary lifestyle in society and the negative consequences it has on non-communicable diseases.
Recovery from the coronavirus can take a while and there are symptoms that can accompany the patient long after being discharged: fatigue, respiratory problems, chest pain and cough are the most frequent. “Headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, sleeping and eating problems, diarrhea and loss of taste and smell are also observed. In addition to physical problems, after recovery, some people still suffer from problems with depression, anxiety, memory, and difficulty thinking clearly and focusing. Due to pulmonary and cardiac sequelae, it is important to do a thorough study before resuming activities to which a patient was accustomed”, share Laura Palermodoctor of virology, specialist in the history of diseases and professor at Hunter College in New York.
Reduced exercise and daily steps
Worldwide, SARS-CoV-2 has had a great impact on the usual practice of physical activity. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Spainwas the country that most reduced the number of daily steps of the population –38% less– during confinement; Argentina is the second, with a 24% reduction. In America the figures indicate that Brazil reduced the fifteen%, Mexico 13%, Colombia 18% (Other countries in the region do not report data.
Mikel Izquierdo, Professor and Director of the Department of Health Sciences at the Public University of Navarra, is final: “Physical exercise and sports should be essential activities and more so in a pandemic. The decisions will imply an impact on public health. This should be one of the great challenges of public health and health policies in the coming years.”
The many benefits of regular physical activity for adults are well known. The (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 70 minutes of vigorous activity per week for this practice to provide health benefits. Some of the most important benefits at the physical level are the improvement of body composition, image, metabolic level and cardiorespiratory capacity, helping to prevent diseases such as morbidity, sarcopenia, hypertension and even cancer. It also produces a positive psychological effect by reducing the rate of illness due to anxiety and depression.