Returning to Sports activities or Train After Recovering From COVID-19 – Well being Necessities from Cleveland Clinic
Whether you are a sports student or an active adult who has recovered from COVID-19, you are likely to be itching to get back on the field or continue your exercise routine. If you don’t have symptoms or your condition is mild, you may be wondering what activities to do while you wait for the infection.
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Sports medicine specialist Marie Schaefer, MD discusses the latest recommendations and guidelines for a safe return to fitness after COVID-19.
Many long-term effects are still unknown, including the effects of the virus on overall fitness
We certainly know more now than we did 11 months ago, but much is still unknown about the long-term effects of COVID-19. We know that the virus can damage the heart, brain, lungs and kidneys, but there is no way of knowing or predicting who exactly these people will be. Some people can also experience persistent symptoms, including shortness of breath, muscle pain, loss of stamina, and fatigue – all bad news, but especially for athletes and active people.
“The truth is that the disease can affect everyone differently,” says Dr. Shepherd. “Anyone, including young athletes, could suffer a severe case or long-term damage. This is why it is so important to take this seriously.”
This is especially true for active people, as it can be difficult to say what long-term effects someone will have after recovering from the virus. Some people might do well and jump back to their old training regimen, while others will find that their athletic performance is just not what it used to be.
For the majority of athletes and active people, getting back to activity is likely to be a slow process and will require patience. You should work with a health care provider to make sure you are progressing appropriately and are monitoring your symptoms.
Isolate and quarantine exercise restrictions
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19
If you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you must quarantine. The quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people exposed to a contagious disease to see if they get sick. Athletes and active individuals can exercise in quarantine as long as they can keep the restrictions (so no, going to the gym or exercising is off! Look for workouts at home instead). If an athlete feels sick in quarantine, he should stop exercising immediately.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be isolated. Isolation separates sick people with an infectious disease from people who are not sick. People in isolation should only leave their homes in an emergency. It is recommended to isolate a sick member in a room and mask all members of the household to prevent other members from getting sick. Athletes who are isolated should not do any exercise until released from isolation and finally cleared to resume activity by a health care provider.
Schedules for returning to sports or exercise
While an athlete or active person has COVID-19, they should avoid physical activity and focus on rest, hydration, proper nutrition, and following the advice of their health care providers. The schedule for returning to exercise or sports depends on how easy, moderate, or difficult the case was.
All athletes and individuals who participate in sports and test positive for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms must rest for at least 10 days. No physical activity or exercise should take place during this 10 day period. If an athlete tests positive but has no symptoms, the isolation date will begin on the date of the positive test. If they are symptomatic, this period starts from the date the symptoms started.
If an athlete has only a mild illness or tests positive with no symptoms, they may consider resuming activity after the 10-day isolation period. Once this 10-day window has passed, the athlete can consider returning to physical activity gradually, but must not have any symptoms.
If an athlete has had moderate or severe illness (or has had to be hospitalized), they should be evaluated by a health care provider before restarting an exercise. These people may need to do additional tests, including EKGs, cardiac imaging, or blood tests, before being released to be active again.
Myocarditis in athletes and active people
Myocarditis is an inflammatory reaction of the heart due to a viral infection such as COVID-19. It can cause swelling in the heart muscle, making vigorous activity difficult and sometimes even fatal.
“Myocarditis is more likely to happen in people who have had moderate or severe cases of the virus, but it can happen to anyone who has been infected,” says Dr. Shepherd.
Given this increased potential risk for myocarditis, athletes returning from COVID-19 infections need to see a health care provider who will determine if additional testing is required. Because of the risk of myocarditis, athletes and anyone who exercise should gradually return to physical activity over the course of a week to identify signs and symptoms of this serious complication.
Gradual return to sport for student athletes and active adults
Student athletes (and all active adults) should complete a supervised, graduated return to sport progression when they return to practice, exercise, or exercise. This advancement is often referred to as Return to Play (RTP) and consists of seven stages.
Athletes should start in the first stage and only move on to the next stages as long as they remain symptom-free. Whenever possible, it is a good idea for young athletes to have a sports coach monitor and guide their progress. If an exercise trainer is not available, a trainer or parent should be supervised to ensure safety. In active adults, be sure to monitor your symptoms or ask a friend or family member to keep an eye on you.
Should the athlete experience any of the following red flag symptoms while attempting to progress, they should immediately stop exercising:
- Chest pain or palpitations.
- A headache.
- High heart rate, not proportional to the level of exercise or the prolonged recovery of the heart rate.
- Drowsiness or dizziness.
- Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or breathing abnormally quickly.
- Excessive fatigue.
- Swelling in the extremities
- Syncope (passed out).
- Experience tunnel vision or loss of vision.
If symptoms improve, the athlete should rest for 24 hours and start the previous stage. They can move forward when they feel good. If symptoms persist for more than 24 to 48 hours, or if they haven’t resolved after you stop exercising, contact your doctor for recommendations for additional evaluations and tests.
For the safest way to return to exercise or exercise, follow these seven stages:
Back to fitness
Returning to exercise and exercise after recovering from COVID-19 can be a slow (and frustrating) process.
Dr. Schaefer offers additional advice on reintroducing fitness:
- Listen to your body. If you have symptoms such as chest pain or palpitations, stop exercising immediately and contact your doctor. Exercise and exercise are important to overall health, but for COVID-19, things can change overnight as we learn more about the virus. Keep monitoring yourself, and if anything feels like more than just being out of shape, stop exercising and speak to your doctor (the red flag symptoms listed above are listed above).
- Always with Tranquillity. Do not try to switch through like you used to. Athletes of all ages should gradually progress to return to exercise. You need to build up the time and intensity of your workout. Start with a slow walk. If that feels okay, try a brisk walk the next day. Then increase the time you run. Build up gradually for about 1 to 2 weeks before returning to the HIIT workout or CrossFit that you did before COVID-19.
- Be patient. Even if you trained for a marathon before you became infected, you will likely find that your body has changed a bit, which required extra caution. Don’t press too hard on a body that is still trying to recover.