Exercising Again after COVID-19

Aug 9, 2022


When COVID-19 began to shut the world down in early 2020, exercise probably wasn’t a high priority for many people. As businesses closed their doors and people began to isolate themselves at home, there was a lot more to worry about than going to the gym. While working out might seem like an afterthought, becoming more sedentary isn’t good news.

Exercising is about more than staying toned. Going to the gym may have been a way to socialize, and aerobic and weight-bearing exercises are important ways to stay healthy. For seniors who stayed home throughout the pandemic, getting enough physical exercise may not have been possible. Now that more people are getting vaccinated, seniors may be able to get out and exercise again. As you consider your options for getting moving again, here’s what you should know.

Getting Started

The COVID-19 pandemic may have drastically changed some people’s lifestyles. If your main source of exercise was going to a gym or another facility, staying home might have forced you to remain sedentary.
Such is the case with the Delta variant. It is not the first mutation the virus has seen, but the Delta variant is making a big impact. Experts say it spreads twice as much as the original virus and may have a higher risk of severe infection.

If you’ve been vaccinated and are ready to get back to the gym, it’s important to do it the right way. Your body isn’t as accustomed to exercise as it was before you were cooped up at home. Take it easy as you train your muscles to work again so you can avoid injury. Start with low-intensity exercises, and don’t forget to warm up and cool down. Make sure to hydrate, and watch for signs that you are doing too much. It’s better to go slowly at first than to hurt yourself and end up quitting.

How Much Is Too Much?

An exercise regimen is subjective; it won’t be the same for everybody. As you get started, follow your body’s cues to determine how much and how long you should exercise. You may start with just a few days a week, or even a few minutes at a time, and work up from there. Try to stay at a level of exertion that allows you to carry on a conversation.

“Getting started with exercise again is good for your physical and mental health,” says Sarah Hilton, a registered nurse. “As you figure out what level of exercise is best for you, talk to your doctor about how to get moving safely.”

Exercise after COVID-19 Recovery

Starting an exercise program after being sedentary for a while is difficult enough. If you have recovered from a battle with COVID-19, there are other factors at play. Some people who have had COVID-19 have experienced long-term symptoms that could interfere with exercise—including shortness of breath and fatigue.

Wait until after you have recovered from COVID-19 to begin exercising, and check in with your doctor before you do. Depending on the severity of your illness, you may need some additional tests to ensure your body is up to the challenge. Watch closely for excessive fatigue, nausea, lightheadedness, and other serious symptoms. If any of these occur, stop right away and rest. Consult your doctor about any concerns or lingering symptoms.

Exercising is vital to overall health, and getting started is a great goal for people of every age and physical fitness level. Be sure to be safe as you begin your new regimen, and talk to your healthcare professional about any concerns.