As COVID19 is expanding, so are the medical and fitness measures to cope with that. Last year was all about knowing COVID and its symptoms. While we are still learning about its new effects, we are also focusing on how best to cope post covid.
Most people affected notice extreme fatigue and breathing difficulties. We have also noticed incidents of cardiac arrhythmias, inflammation of heart muscle and in some rare cases sudden cardiac arrest as well. The people with no pre-existing medical conditions, though seemed to recover well, have shown 15% of signs of heart inflammation post covid.
If you are a recently recovered COVID patient, maintaining a balanced diet, we urge far more caution than in the past, based on the unpredictable nature of how the virus affects each person. Once your physician or cardiologist has given a go ahead, you can start back slowly.
But remember: Do not exercise if you are still sick or have active symptoms like coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations.
Here are some mentioned methods to maintain your cardio-respiratory system.
Walking is the most effective exercise for strengthening your heart. Firstly, start with slow walking, gradually you can increase your walking speed. Walking helps in proper blood flow through your heart and will increase the flexibility of your cardiac muscles. There is no fixed time; hence you can walk any time of the day. But keep in mind not to do excessive walking as it might cause chest pain. Keep in mind the restrictions imposed by particular governments and avoid crowded places and always wear a mask.
Jogging is like running at a slow pace. Initially, it is for a short duration of time and with proper time intervals. It will help your muscles to move and, with that, the blood circulation in your heart will increase. Jogging according to your health conditions is recommended. If you are under the weather, then you may skip this exercise. But before you start jogging, ensure to check with your cardiologist and get a cardiac check up done.
- STEP-UP / SIT AND STAND
It is another helpful exercise you may practice for your cardiac muscles. To do this step-up, you need a solid box or an elevated slab or anything that you may find handy, do make sure it is a bit higher than the floor level.
Now with your right foot, step on it by pressing with your heel region and then pull your left leg to stand on the slab. And take your right step back on the floor and then pull your left leg down.
Do this at least 5 times initially to ensure you are putting too much pressure on your heart muscles. Do it again with your left foot first, and again 5 times. Rest for 3minutes post this and measure your great rate before you repeat 2 more cycles of the same.
Or you can try the sit and stand exercise. In this you need a chair, if you are not fit enough then use a higher chair. First, sit straight on it, then get up and stand straight again; go back and sit. For this you may use your hand for balance. Then take a rest after doing it 5 times. If at any time, you feel fatigue, you must stop these exercises immediately and contact your cardiologist.
- ARM CYCLE:
An easy and effective exercise. First, you have to sit straight and then hold your shoulders with your hand and make a loop-like structure. Then move your shoulders frontward in a cyclic manner 5 – 10 times and repeat the same backward. It will help your cardiac muscles to contract and relax.
The blood flowing through your heart will be better. Repeat this 2 – 3 times a day.
- PURSED LIP BREATHING
The most important exercise, for strengthening both the respiratory and cardiac cycle. Take a chair and sit straight on it or you may lie down too.
Inhale through your nostrils for 4 sec, hold the air and then release the air through your mouth. Make sure that, when you are blowing out the air from your mouth, purse your lips like you are whistling.
Continue this 10 – 15 times. It will maintain the oxygen level in your body and your blood circulation in your heart and lungs.
- DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING
The diaphragm is the most important muscle for breathing, and this exercise will help you a lot. First, sit straight on a chair, and put one hand on your upper chest and the other on the lower end of your ribs so that you can feel the movements.
Now inhale through your nose and this time lower rib area will move against your hand. Then release the air slowly now your upper chest region will move. Continue for 10 – 15 times.
It will help your lung muscles and cardiac muscles to have better movements. By doing this every day, you can reduce your cardiac and breathing problems.
Make sure you are doing these exercises after consulting a cardiologist. Ideally 3- 4 weeks post-covid, meet your heart specialist and get a thorough evaluation of your heart. For post-covid heart consultation, reach out to me at [email protected] or call me on (+91) 9902147888.
Remember to “Go Slow” as recovery from this illness is not a sprint, but a marathon! Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!