Exercise After Covid 19

Hi my dear readers, I want to tell you my covid story and how it affects my workout routine. So last July, I was tested positive for covid 19. It was around 3 July. The symptoms I experience were diarrhea, fever, runny nose, body ache, and loss the sense of smell and taste. The hardest part was diarrhea cause it makes me dehydrated and weak for the first 5 days. There are no difficulties in breathing and my oxygen saturation never went below 90. I was not hospitalized at that time because June and July were the peaks of covid cases in Indonesia. It was extremely hard to get a room for treatment in hospitals unless you are in a critical stage.

              On my sick days, I feel like I am always out of energy even though all I do was sitting and laying on my bed. I have no problems with my appetite. My stomach hurt so often during that time. After the 8th day, my body feels better but still feeling week. I try to walk around for a little bit around the front yard of my house. It was not much of a walk, yet I feel so tired, I could not continue my short walk.

              I was thinking “what is going on? Why this short walk makes me so tired?”. Maybe my condition is still bad. So, I did not walk for 3 days. Then I try again to walk a little bit longer. At that time, I feel like my body is getting better and I feel good. I was absolutely sure; I can walk just fine. When I try to walk a bit further than before, I can feel my heart rate is faster than usual. You know, usually, a walk would not increase the heart rate too high. However, when I check my smartwatch, I saw my heart rate goes up to 140. I mean, that is not normal for me. I decide to stop.

After 3 weeks passed and I tested negative for covid, I was finally excited to go back to my workout routine. I feel healthy. I try to do a bicep curl with 2 kg barbels and I could not do the usual repetition I did in my usual workout routine with 4 kg barbels. I can only do 1 set and half rep on every strength training move in my workout routine. I thought I was recovering. It turns out I have not entirely recovered.  

              It was kind of upsetting for me. It is like something is missing since I haven’t worked out for 3 weeks. I try to accept that my body is still not recovered and return to its previous stamina level. That is why I try to go back to work out slowly. I choose to focus on weight training only, and no cardio at all. It is because covid is a disease that attacks the respiratory system aka your lung, and cardio will usually make you breath faster due to its intense movement. I just don’t want to risk it. Besides even after healed from covid, sometimes I feel pressure on my chest every now and then. According to many articles I read, after covid, you should start your exercise routine slowly and avoid heavy exercise.

              What you should pay attention before start exercise after recovering from covid in my opinion are:

1.       Consult with your doctor first whether it is safe for you to exercise

2.       Start very slow

3.       Begin with half set and repetition of your usual routine

4.       Use a lighter weight than the one you usually use

5.       Pay attention to your body response

6.       Avoid doing exercise that causes heavy/fast breathing

7.       Monitor your heart rate during exercise

8.       Take multivitamins to support your health

The two months after, my condition gradually getting better but still not quite the same as before.  Some days I feel very tired after a workout, so I take 2 rest days instead of 1 day. There were days when my heart rate strangely goes up faster when I am not lifting heavy nor moving fast. I used to work out 5 times a week, 4 days of strength training, and 1 day for cardio. The first month, I only workout 3 times a week of strength training with zero cardio. My focus is to slowly build up doing full set and repetition with the heavier barbels as before. If you experience a similar thing with me where you cannot get your fitness level as good as before due to covid, do not get discouraged or giving up. You not failing yourself, just be patient with it and put your health first.

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