The Coronavirus disease (Covid 19) leaves you feeling weak by causing inflammation throughout the body. This can result in cardiovascular disease or lung damage, including abnormal heart rhymes and heart dysfunction. Worst of all, these types of conditions may worsen or lead to dangerous situations if you train too soon after Covid-19 recovery.
On the contrary, some studies claim that physical exercise can protect your body against various illnesses and diseases, including the infection caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, exercise triggers the release of a specific enzyme that protects our bodies against lung damage, which is the most affected organ by coronavirus disease.
But, what is the exact effect of exercise on covid-19? Well, read on to find out! In addition, we'll check out other health benefits of staying active during subsequent lockdown apart from helping you recover faster.
First, here's a study that shows why regular physical activity is essential in reducing COVID-19 complications!
Exercise and Covid 19 Research
The results of a landmark study involving 48,000 adults demonstrated a strong relationship between severe COVID 19 symptoms and physical activity. According to the survey, Covid-19 patients who exercised for less than 10 min/ week had higher chances of dying, being hospitalized, or being admitted to the ICU than those who trained for 150 min per week.
In a different study, 8 patients suffering from ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) were investigated. ARDS refers to a condition when the lungs become stiff and swollen because of inflammation, leading to oxygen deprivation and fluid buildup. It's one of the common complications that Covid 19 patients develop. More notably, it's considered one of the significant causes of death among COVID patients. For instance, research conducted by the CDC showed that 3-17% of more than 40,000 people in China during the COVID-19 outbreak developed ARDS. In addition, 68-85% of all the patients admitted to the ICU also developed, while 20 -42% of all hospitalized patients got the complication.
Research shows that exercising stimulates the release of an antioxidant enzyme that helps to reduce the risk of ARDS. This enzyme is known as EcSOD (Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase). According to a review published in the Redox Biology journal, this antioxidant enzyme protects the body against ARDs and other lung & heart diseases. In addition, the article notes that this protective effect may help to prevent the severe complications caused by Covid-19.
Does Exercise Help Covid Recovery?
Over 70 million people in the US have been infected with COVID 19 to date. This disease is associated with various health problems that may affect how well you engage in pandemic fitness. Some of these side effects or health symptoms include; fatigue (extreme tiredness), joint stiffness, muscle weakness, and breathlessness.
On the bright side, health experts claim that exercising can help covid-19 patients recover faster. Although you may have less energy and feel more tired than usual at first, you'll recover over time. According to a BMJ article, one should return to working out after at least 7 days free of coronavirus symptoms. In addition, engaging in physical fitness exercises for covid will improve your social, psychological, and physical health.
About 10 percent of covid patients may experience health problems that last for months even after symptoms of infection are gone. This condition is referred to as long Covid or Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, and these people are known as long-haulers. In addition, PASC may include various health complications that may need tests, imaging, or labs before you're directed to a physical therapist for treatment. More importantly, if you've symptoms of PASC, make sure you consult your primary care doctor before you start any aerobic exercise COVID program.
Exercising post-COVID-19 may pose some risks, especially after a severe case. Therefore, it's essential to ease into the workout. A specific report even suggests waiting for 7 days after the significant symptoms have stopped, then slowly building up exercises by phases.
Specifically, this may include 4 phases of activity. The 1st phase comprises light intensity workouts that can be completed without shortness of breath like walking, stretching, or yoga. On the other hand, phases 2 through 4 should include more challenging workouts like light resistance training or brisk walking. Make sure you maintain each phase for at least 7 days. And if you feel like a certain workout is too strenuous, go back to the previous phase, until you feel confident in your abilities.
What to Do After Recovering From Covid?
Exercise is vital for your overall health, especially if you've recovered from Covid 19. Besides, it will help you get back into your regular exercise routine once the significant symptoms cease. However, there are certain things to consider when performing exercises like treadmill training post the current coronavirus pandemic.
Some of these things include;
1. Start slow
Regular exercise offers several health benefits. But, when you've just recovered from covid, you'll need time to get back to your exercise routines. For that, you should start your treadmill exercise slowly and increase your efforts gradually over the next few weeks. Weight and aerobic activities will also come in handy in your recovery efforts. But, more importantly, set realistic targets each week and rest once you feel tired.
2. Monitor your breath while training
Make sure you monitor your breathlessness while training on a treadmill after recovering from covid. Typically, you should maintain a pace that allows you to talk, even when you're slightly out of breath.
3. Improve your lung capacity
As mentioned earlier, the BMJ report advises covid-recovery patients to start their workout plan after going 7 days without symptoms. However, some symptoms like fatigue or coughing may remain after that duration. Such symptoms are clear indicators that you're not ready to resume training. The same case also applies when you've more acute symptoms like extreme breath shortness or fever.
Once you're completely ready, it's good to increase your lung capacity through various exercises. If you were an athlete before covid, your routine may be slightly different since your physical activity levels were probably higher pre-infection. But if you live a typical sedentary lifestyle, start and allow for setbacks.
Best Exercises for Covid Recovery Patients to Improve Lung Capacity
Treadmill walking is one of the best and easiest ways to start regaining your fitness and strength post-COVID. To start, set a pace that you can maintain without getting winded. Then, increase your training speed slowly until you reach an average walking speed. Afterward, you can increase the treadmill incline to increase the training intensity.
2. Weight training
Adding weight training to your Post-COVID workout routine is another exercise that can be beneficial. Here, you can start with low weights like 5 - 10 pounds for both legs and arms. Alternatively, you can try other resistance workouts since they will help the muscle atrophy set in quickly.
3. Rib & Chest Expansion workouts
Most patients recovering from covid often lose their ability to engage their respiratory muscles fully. Thankfully, chest expansion workouts help to engage and strengthen these muscles. Best of all, the exercises expand the lungs, helping you make more progress in your routine.
Benefits of Exercise During Covid-19 Pandemic
Regular exercise can help to blank depression
Increased cases of depression have been reported during previous COVID outbreaks, mainly due to quarantine and social isolation. However, some studies suggest that increased aerobic exercise levels can help manage symptoms. This is because exercise significantly increases your heart rate, which is linked to more significant reductions in depressive symptoms.
For example, treadmill exercise triggers the release of TPH and 5-HT expression. These hormones are believed to alleviate depression-like behavior, thus helping to rescue feelings of depression and boost your mood.
In addition, exercise increases the brain's sensitivity to norepinephrine and serotonin hormones. Moreover, it increases the production of endorphins. Interestingly, engaging in physical activities will help alleviate depressive symptoms, regardless of the workout intensity.
That said, exercising once or twice daily is a great way to reduce cases of depression during COVID. You can accomplish that by using home fitness equipment like elliptical workout machines, treadmills, or stationary bikes. You can also perform alternate exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, standing squats, etc.
How does exercise help to reduce stress brainly?
Besides improving physical health, staying active during quarantine is vital for mental health since it reduces stress. Research shows that it's very effective at improving concentration & alertness, reducing fatigue, and improving overall cognitive function.
When stress affects your brain, the entire body feels the impact due to the many nerve connections. So, if your body feels better, your mind will also feel better.
With that in mind, here's how exercises help the brain to reduce stress!
Exercise like treadmill training during COVID 19 pandemic triggers the release of endorphins. These chemicals promote better sleep and serve as natural painkillers, helping to reduce stress. Researchers have also found that performing aerobic exercise regularly elevates & stabilizes mood and reduces overall tension levels.
Staying active during COVID has been proven to have many benefits, including reducing depression and anxiety. Although outdoor training is unavailable during the COVID pandemic, indoor training seems like the best pandemic fitness routine. In addition, the training has various positive effects such as alleviating depression & anxiety and boosting your immune system.
In that regard, the WHO (World Health Organization), ACSM, and recent studies about exercise during COVID recommend specific exercise strategies to help you stay active during quarantine. This includes performing 75-min vigorous workout or 150-min moderate-intensity treadmill exercise per week. On the same note, you can perform other home-based exercises like side knee lifts, plank, squats, and back extensions.
1. How to get over covid faster?
Maintaining a daily routine, exercise, and getting adequate will help you get over covid faster. Also, take a break from COVID health news, stay hydrated, eat healthy meals and connect with others to share feelings. More notably, avoid excessive use of tobacco and alcohol, meditate and focus on fun activities.
2. Is it good to exercise with covid?
When recovering from COVID, the body feels a bit weak, tired and you may be short of breath. However, being physically active while recovering can help you recover faster.
3. How can you stay physically active during COVID self-quarantine?
Walking on a treadmill or around the room will keep you active during self-quarantine. Similarly, walk around the house while taking a call instead of answering the phone while sitting.
4. How to maintain your health during the covid outbreak?
There are various ways to keep healthy during the covid outbreak, including hydration and proper nutrition. Eating a well-balanced diet will lower your risk of getting infection & chronic diseases and strengthen your immune system.