This article is all about returning back to activity after COVID-19. What should you be thinking of, all based on our personal experience after being diagnosed with Coronavirus in October.
Having done a lot of virtual consultations over the lockdown period, we’ve spoken to people that have had had this in the past, they’re getting better from it, etc. As they move back into activity they have been noticing some issues. Things like fatigue, difficulty getting back into sport, and of course their back rehab exercises.
We wanted to cover this whole process from our experience as we noticed a few things ourselves. When we shot the video above, we were pretty much ok, and although feeling pretty bad during the “bad days” things did settle. Recovering to the point of doing normal day to day activities is one thing, but returning to any “workouts” after being injured, unwell or Covid for that matter can be challenging.
So whether you’ve come down with the flu or another illness, you’ve had coronavirus itself, or your returning from a bad back or injuyry in general, these videos should be helpful! Realising that others experience similar things can help fight that feeling of isolation. This is one of the big things that affects people with back pain. If you’re struggling to recover after Covid, you may be thinking “is there something wrong with me”? Hopefully seeing some common themes in our experience, you’ll feel a little better and can overcome these challenges!
How was Covid for us?
Overally, we didn’t really get too much in the way of symptoms, we had a pretty intensive period though, we were pretty bad for a few days, and then slowly recovered. We’ve had the taste and the smell issues, which were very peculiar, but we recovered pretty well.
One of the things once we were on the mend that stood out, was that I could tell going up and down stairs a strange fatugiue feeling. Even as we were coming out of the recovery, I was feeling a breathlessness that this didn’t feel right. I remember thinking to myself, “I’ve only gone up a set of stairs, why am I feeling this way?” It wasn’t a panting but it was something notable. Over the past 6 months or so, speaking to people on the telephone, during virtual consultations it was clear that others were also struggling to get back to fittness. Knowing that the body is still coming out of a bit of a fight, it is important to not push on too fast so taking stock at this point was really important.
It was really this feeling that prompted the thought to do a video in the first place.
Getting Back In Shape after Coronavirus
We shot the video above just after returning for the first time to the gym, the general thought process was; let’s just play it by ear, let’s let’s be wise.
The main thing to consider is, when you’re going back into your workout, whether you’re working out at home and you’re in the Back In Shape group, whether you’re doing your own thing, or just working out in around the house our outside, take your time! In this case we would normally work at 5 sets of 15 reps for our main exercises. Going back in at this level is likely to be too much. And from my experience, a gentle 3 sets was nice and comfortable, with the temptation to do number 4 and 5, but you want to avoid that temptation.
Even this lower intensity, in spite of the desire to do more, there was that feeling of a strange fatigue again. It’s important to remember that this is understandable and acceptable. Although we could have done much more, it would have been a rather foolish approach. There is no need to rush back in and all too often people fall into this trap whether it Covid or back pain.
When it came to the cardio component of the session, usually we do 20 minutes, today, we still did the 20 minutes, but at a very comfortable pace, around 60-70% of what we’d normally be working at.
After your first workout post Covid
The important things to do after this session is to rest and evaluate how it all went. How does your body feel? In spite of the strange fatigue immediately after the workout, we were pretty good later the day. This is an important evaluation tool and makes sure you can rationally evaluate the entire process. The muscles tightened up later that evening and the next day, the usual DOMS. Yes it’s a little more severe than we were getting pre-covid, but you’ve spent 3-4 days more or less in bed, and the 14 days quarantined in the house. What do you really expect?!
It’s that last sentence that is the one that isn’t considered when you have that first tough workout after Covid. Running through that bit, really helps put the feelings into perspective and reassure you that you’ll be ok! We really do want to play it safe as we returned to activity don’t go in and try and do any personal bests. Really do turn the intensity down the way we’ve done it and that should allow you to get that confidence coming back in. The last thing you want to do is overdo it and have some issues, maybe you’re not quite as well as you should be. Again, it doesn’t have to be Covid, just generally being unwell & being out of action from injury as well, these principles will help you.
Overall, our symptoms weren’t that bad. And we suffered for a couple of days and then started to really get get better. Obviously, you’ve got to take your own circumstances into account, we’re all different. But when we are getting back into activity, whether it’s this or whether it’s just a general illness, or an injury, we want to ease back in slowly, be objective as much as you can about evaluating your pre injury or illness performance. That first session back, don’t set any records or try to set any records, just go through the motions and have a successful first session back and then go from there.