Prepare the tennis: how to return to exercise after having covid

Even if you have had few symptoms from covid, you should not return to exercise without first doing an effort test. Here we tell you.

Before covid, Laura ran several times a week at least 5 kilometers. After the illness, which she passed without many symptoms, running across a street took her breath away.

One of the consequences of covid is the loss of strength in the respiratory muscles, a “fatigue” that causes less oxygen uptake and we get more tired.

“We should not believe at all that you can continue doing the exercise you did” before covid, says physiotherapist Antonio Cañete Avellaneda.

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That is why we are somewhat sedentary or fans of practicing sports, after covid the return to physical activity must be gradual and always measuring oxygenation and heart rate, explains to Chilango the academic of the Bachelor of Physiotherapy of the Faculty of Medicine of the UNAM.

Before starting…

Before any exercise you should calculate your maximum heart rate, which depends on your age.

The physical therapist explains that there is a formula called Tanaka: 208 – (0.7 x age) = Maximum heart rate. With this formula, the maximum frequency of a 30-year-old person is 187 beats per minute.

But that doesn’t mean you take your heart to that point. It is recommended not to exceed 60-70% of the heart rate. While oxygenation should never drop below 90.

Read: How long does covid last in the air? So you can get infected

The first exercises we should do are to strengthen the muscles that are the base of the lungs through diaphragmatic breathing, which will help strengthen the muscle that is under the ribs.

“The initial treatment of all post-Covid patients is to condition the respiratory muscles again before conditioning, the legs or the body in general,” says Cañete.

Here are some of these exercises:

Walking: the first exercise

A stress test is the first step in returning to activity, as it will tell us how much activity our body can withstand without altering vital signs.

You can do this exercise at home. But, beware, do not do it on a treadmill, because the device alters your walking speed and the size of your steps.

We must walk 6 minutes at a pace at normal speed with an oximeter placed on the index finger of either hand. Someone else will take the log every minute.

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If your saturation starts to drop and your heart rate increases or you feel very tired and short of breath, you should stop.

Antonio Cañete explains that it is at this point that a physical therapist should be consulted to determine what type of exercises should be done.

However, he gives us a series of tips to recover the athletic life – or at least less sedentary – that the covid took.

They catch condition…again

If in the stress test your saturation is good but you get tired after 4 minutes, it means that you need exercises for physical conditioning, says Cañete Avellaneda.

“All organisms in general have the ability to condition our body to do a repetitive activity or practice an exercise and for the body to start getting used to it, it takes approximately three to six weeks to adapt,” says the academic.

It may be that you walk those 4 minutes that you endured and gradually increase. The following week one more minute and so on. To say that we are in good physical condition, we should be able to walk 20 minutes without getting tired.

Read more about: Did you have covid? Exercise guides that can help you

After that time we can start jogging, but lightly, for 3 to 5 minutes and monitoring the frequency and oxygenation. If we see that the signs are fine, increase the minutes.

Another exercise is to start lifting lightly wearing quarter to one pound ankle gaiters and each week, just like with the walk, add a little more weight.

Physiotherapist Antonio Cañete adds that the best way to find out what exercises will help you regain physical condition is to approach a professional.

UNAM has a contact line 5228-9917 Ext. 2319 to which you can communicate and you will be referred to a physiotherapist.

You can also visit to learn more about it.

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