Long Covid: Regular exercise key to getting back in shape, experts say

Long Covid: Regular exercise key to getting back in shape, experts say

Kuala Lumpur, June 16 – While most people recover from COVID-19 relatively unharmed, some are experiencing long-term effects of the infection including symptoms associated with the prolonged COVID-19 virus or post-COVID-19 syndrome.

According to the infectious disease expert, many of those infected with the Covid virus for a long time have reported a significant deterioration in their fitness levels.

Dr James Koh Kwe Choi, Consultant Infectious Diseases and Medical Specialist at International Medical University, said that while many factors influence everyone’s experience of prolonged Covid-19, in general, people who are ill-equipped to start, have cardiovascular disease or Respiratory diseases are significantly more susceptible to infection. compromise their fitness levels.

However, even relatively fit people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 have been reported to experience a significant deterioration in their fitness levels after Covid-19.

Recovery depends on many factors

Commenting on the long Covid, Dr Koh said the effects of Covid-19 are not only limited to the respiratory system – the primary target of SARS-CoV2, the virus responsible for Covid-19 – but can also extend to other systems including cardiovascular, disease Skin, musculoskeletal system and nervous system.

Although most people recover from Covid-19 relatively unharmed, some experience long-term effects of the infection including symptoms associated with Covid-19 and chronic fatigue syndrome.

According to medical data, a person is said to have been infected with Covid for a long time if symptoms persist after 12 weeks after recovery from Covid-19 infection. People suffer from a wide range of conditions such as fatigue, persistent shortness of breath, and chest pain or tightness. Some also have trouble concentrating and have other symptoms as well.

He added that many of these symptoms are subjective and cannot be easily detected by routine investigations such as ECG and ultrasound, which makes it difficult to identify reliable investigation markers that can help diagnose the effects of the long-term Covid disease.

“We need to know that Covid-19 can cause highly inflammatory responses in the body, especially in severe classes of infection. How these responses affect or affect the recovery of affected organs in the body is still largely unknown. Some patients recover fully while it appears Others have residual effects for weeks and months down the road.

“The time it takes to fully recover (from Covid-19 disease) depends on many factors, including the presence of other diseases before (infection) with Covid-19,” he added.

Playing sports

Dr Koh stressed that a person’s current fitness level may determine how quickly they recover from Covid-19, and noted the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, healthy eating, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

As for exercising after recovering from Covid-19, Dr Koh said in general, exercise is not recommended if a person is still experiencing symptoms. Those who have previously had heart or lung problems should consult their physician before resuming exercise.

There are important issues to consider before one relocates and starts exercising after Covid-19. Our greatest concern is the risk of developing myocarditis, a well-known complication in post-Covid-19 patients that can be fatal. Chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath are symptoms of myocarditis. He advised that the important thing is to listen to your body.

Meanwhile, personal trainer and triathlete Shen Chu saw exercise as one of the best ways to regain fitness after Covid-19.

After contracting and recovering from Covid-19 in March of this year, Shen’s advice to those embarking on a post-Covid-19 fitness journey is to start slowly and keep a journal of how they feel after each workout session. This will help determine what works for them and how their body responds.

Start with light exercises such as yoga. It’s something you can do even if you have Covid-19. It helps with blood circulation and makes you feel better. Stretching involves simple movements such as rolling your arm and hugging your knees to your chest.

“Every time I move around a little bit (when I had Covid-19), I feel a little better. There’s a lot of joint soreness, so when you mobilize yourself, you get your blood circulating. Endorphins will also activate and that helps take some of the pain off,” she added. .

However, Covid-19 has affected Shen’s endurance. Being a triathlete, Shane is used to running distances of more than 10 kilometres, but after Covid-19, she has found that she cannot run more than three kilometres.

“However, with regular gentle workouts, my body slowly returns to normal,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dr Koh said the path to full recovery from fitness levels after COVID-19 is very individual as it will depend on a person’s pre-existing fitness level and the presence of other comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension. High cholesterol and obesity in addition to habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

“Some guidelines recommend carrying out additional exercise over a period of weeks to slowly restore an individual’s level of fitness. Ideally, this should be done under the supervision of trained personnel or under the supervision of a physician.

“It is true that a person with few or no risk factors tends to recover their fitness level faster. However, some patients do not really recover from their pre-Covid-19 fitness level although this may be possible under more conditions. the time.

“But the most important thing is that any improvement in the level of fitness after Covid-19 is still considered beneficial,” he said. – program

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