CLEVELAND, OHIO — After battling COVID-19, some people are eager to start exercising again, but doctors say that could be dangerous.
Instead, it’s important to ease back into those old routines.
“It doesn’t matter how fit you were before you had COVID-19. It affects everyone differently and it doesn’t matter about your fitness level,” said Marie Schaefer,MD, a sports medicine specialist with Cleveland Clinic. “So, I really want people to ease back into activity, be patient and listen to your body.”
Dr. Schaefer said people need to make sure all of their symptoms have gone away before working out again.
Otherwise, they run the risk of delaying their recovery, or even worse – causing long-term tissue damage in their body.
She said doctors are particularly worried about myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle and can be deadly for some.
Her advice? Wait ten days before heading back to the gym and take it slow.
She recommended starting with a short walk and if that feels okay, try a light jog the next day.
“Allow your body time to rest, recover, and hydrate. Feed it the appropriate nutrition so you can truly heal,” said Dr. Schaefer. “And then, after that ten day window, if you have mild or no symptoms at all, that’s when you can consider returning to exercise or activity. You need to make sure all of your symptoms have completely resolved and you’re feeling 100% back to your normal self.”
Dr. Schaefer said people who had moderate or severe symptoms of COVID-19, or who were hospitalized for the virus, need to be especially careful and should consult with their doctor before doing any kind of strenuous activity.