As Covid-19 impacts physical as well as mental wellbeing rehabilitation efforts should be, directed to restore the whole person, helping the person to return to his/her previous quality of life.
There should be check of oxygen saturation, it should be maintained at >94% in room air. Respiratory symptoms like persistence or worsening of cough and breathlessness should be checked continuously. Check for persistent rise of body temperature above 100F. Watch out for signs of lethargy, drowsiness, and altered sensorium.
After post-Covid recovery physical workouts can be initiated in a planned and phased manner and must be done under guidance of Physiotherapist or experts in consultation with pulmonologist.
Fatigue and body weakness are the main long term side effect of covid-19and are termed as “long haulers “ and keeping this in mind, the intense physical workout should not be done immediately after post covid recovery .The low intensity physical activities can be started initially.
After recovery if the patients are willing to start with workout routine, then low intensity warm up exercises with stretches can be initiated.
Followed up by 15- 20 minutes of brisk walking with the check on 02 saturation, but this all should be started with proper exercise prescription under the guidance of expertise.
With the body activities, lung exercises which comprises of deep breathing exercises, incentive spirometer, and thoracic expansion exercises should be continued to improve the lung volume and capacities.
Further, for the fitness enthusiasts after a month or two, they can start with some lightweight muscle strengthening exercises and push up’s, with 15 -20 minutes of brisk walking, added if at all there is no breathing difficulty, chest discomfort or body fatigue.
With the entire exercise regimen, the patient should stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, follow the nutritious diet and get adequate sleep.
(Dr. Priyanka Shastri, Consultant Physiotherapist, Masina Hospital)
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