How To Return To Training Effectively After Covid

How To Return To Training Effectively After Covid

With over 22 million Covid cases recorded in the UK, a lot of athletes have had to deal with the frustration of drawing back from training due to the virus.

It’s not advised that you train through it and when you finally recover, it can be tempting to rush back into workouts to try and regain the fitness you’ve lost.

The problem with that approach is that you could do more harm than good. Jumping straight back into high-intensity training increases your chances of picking up an injury that could further set you back.

Make sure you do things the right way and plan your return to training carefully.

When Should You Start Training After Covid?

Everyone reacts differently to Covid, with some getting it asymptomatically and some suffering from debilitating long Covid. With that in mind, you should take an individual approach and go by how you feel generally as well as how you feel when doing low-level activities like walking or climbing stairs.

If you’re struggling with normal things that are usually easy, you should take a cautious approach.

At the start of the pandemic, the advice was to stop training for 10 days, largely because experts were unsure how the heart and lungs would react.

As the virus has mutated and as people who are vaccinated have started to get a more mild infection, that advice has been cut down to five days.

Build Up Slowly

Heavy exercise has been shown to weaken the immune system, at least in the short term. Put simply, if your body is putting a lot of energy into recovering from a hard session, it will not be able to recover from a Covid infection as quickly.

If you rush straight back into high-intensity workouts, you could stop your body from shaking the virus off completely, or even increase your likelihood of picking up another illness.

Your body will also probably be a little weaker than it was, and so will need to be eased back into training gradually to avoid injury that could rule you out for even longer.

Give yourself a 10-day or two-week period where you build the volume and intensity back to where it was.

How To Know If You’re Ready To Train After Covid

As well as observing the 5-day period of no exercise after being diagnosed with Covid or developing symptoms, there are some indicators you can use to suggest whether you’re ready to train again.

Metrics like resting heart rate or heart rate variability are great tools to tell you if your body has recovered. Most smartwatches or fitness watches can be used to track them.

You can also monitor your general feeling as well as your appetite and sleeping patterns. Illness will often leave you less hungry and feeling like you need to sleep a lot more as your body tries to fight off the infection. So when you get your energy back, it’s a sign you could try soe light sessions.