Consistency is essential to building a solid and active body, but sometimes life has other plans, and you get sick. So when can you begin exercising after you have been ill?

How I got back on my feet after Covid…

1. Talk to your physician before exercising.

I like this advice for many reasons; if you are new to exercise – talk to your doctor; if you have had a cold or flu – speak to your doctor, and the best advice about exercising after COVID-19 is to be very careful — this is a challenging disease, adding that no matter your age or fitness level, it’s a good idea to discuss any physical activity plans with your doctor and proceed with caution.

 2. Be patient with your body.

Return to exercise guidelines post-COVID-19 need to consider an individual’s duration & severity of symptoms and other underlying conditions. Taking a break from exercise can often leave you feeling bad. You might worry about losing your fitness or motivation. However, having three weeks of less activity won’t have any long-term detrimental effects. Do what feels right for you, and don’t feel you have to push through. If your body needs to rest, then rest. Don’t feel guilty.

Rest, including rest from exercise, is often a helpful way to expedite recovery from an illness.

3. Listen to your body.

It’s essential to recognize your body’s signals, telling you to stop, be careful, or get going. Think about this as traffic lights. The stop is red light, yellow is a warning or be aware, and green meaning go.

For example, a red light might be a cough or shortness of breath that leaves you unable to exercise or fatigue that limits you from taking care of yourself (like having a shower or making meals). This is not a good time to exercise. Your body needs to heal, so take it easy and give yourself self-love.

A yellow light could be some shortness of breath or a slight cough. You know you have it, but it doesn’t get in the way of doing an activity. Use caution and decrease your intensity level; see rule #4.

Green lights, well, that’s when you’re feeling good and ready to go.

4. 50/30/20/10 Rule

Go slow and easy. When you’re ready to start exercising, it’s important to ease back into your workout so that you don’t overdo it. A good rule of thumb is the 50% rule. Whatever weights, sets, and reps you were doing before getting sick, cut it in half. For example, if you usually perform two sets of bicep curls at 10 pounds, cut it back to 1 set of bicep curls at 5 pounds when you return from being sick. If you usually run for 30 minutes on the treadmill after being sick, start back with 15 minutes of walking and running intervals. Feels easy? That’s the point! Your body has just been through a battle on the inside. Don’t add more stress by over-exercising. Use this graduated return to exercise when you feel you are gaining strength and endurance, and decrease your intensity by only 30%, 20%, and 10%. Resume your regular workout routine gradually as you begin to feel better. If you start to feel weak again, decrease your intensity to allow your body to rest.

5. Start with low-stress exercises.

6. Meditate

There’s no better time to meditate than when you’re not feeling well. Finding motivation and patience to meditate can be challenging, but practicing meditation and being mindful can help you feel better. Meditation improves mental health, and there is growing evidence that it can relieve some physical symptoms.

7. Practice small wins.

Positivity goes a long way in this process, especially when recovering from an illness. And while it’s great to celebrate when you reach a significant milestone, the small, daily successes during this time are essential, too. It is productive to think about your achievements, such as showing up to scheduled workouts, completing workouts, and feeling your body healing.

Get back on your feet after Covid, but be patient!

You must listen to your body before you head out for exercise and during your workout. Also, don’t push yourself too hard when coming back from an illness — be more gradual with your intensity, and you’ll be able to ease back into your routine in no time.



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