Health Benefits

How to Return to Your Exercise Routine After Contracting COVID-19

After the World Health Organization labeled the COVID-19 a public health emergency, medical researchers around the world quickly studied and learned how the virus affects our bodies and the wide range of symptoms we may experience when contracting COVID-19.

On average, most people experience symptoms like headaches, achy muscles, a persistent cough, and a fever, among others, for six days. But, in most cases, it can take up to two weeks to fully recover and have symptoms subside.

This lengthy recovery can really impact your daily routine, especially if you’re physically active. Although regular physical activity is great for your health, it’s important to properly rest and take your time to recover. Here are 3 tips to safely return to your exercise routine after contracting COVID-19:

1. Take It Slow

After recovering from COVID-19, you might be itching to get back to your regular exercise routine. However, your body may still struggle to keep up. Take time and listen to the body. Your body may react slower so prepare to not lift as heavy or run as long as you did before. Your mindset is key because if your expectations are too high, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

2. Keep Your Mental Health in Mind

For some, physical exercise is a way to enjoy spare time, relieve stress, or feel confident. It’s easy to feel frustrated or depressed when that method of relief is taken away or modified after being sick with COVID-19.

You should still maintain that feeling of mental and emotional well-being even when you can’t exercise the same way. Reassess your goals so they’re realistic to your body’s current state and try to add other forms of self-care to your routine, like going for a walk at a park, playing and talking with loved ones, or doing easy stretches at home to relieve stress.

3. Speak to Your Doctor

If you experience severe symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or other heart or lung-related symptoms, consider speaking to your doctor before returning to your exercise routine. Doctors know your medical history and can give you advice on how to return to your exercise routine safely.

If you’re enrolled in the CalPERS Health Program, you can find a doctor through your account in myCalPERS. You can also check out the many resources and tools our health plans offer to help you stay healthy.