VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – As more and more people recover from the COVID-19 virus, some active adults and youth may be concerned about returning to their normal, active lifestyles.
News 3 talked with a sports medicine doctor who offered some guidance.
“The biggest thing we look for of course is how serious their infection was,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Medical Director of Sentara Sports Medicine for the Blue Ridge Region of Virginia. “If you got hit pretty hard with COVID, we highly recommend you see your doctor first before you exercise at all.”
For those who had mild, cold-like symptoms or low-grade fever, Dr. Weber’s advice was similar to that of someone who is just starting to exercise after being away from it for quite some time.
He says plan on a month before you’re back to what you may consider normal.
“Week one, if you’re normally walking four miles a day, just start out with one mile or 25% of your normal activity,” stated Dr. Weber. “And if there are any issues like a heart issue or lung issue, hopefully those symptoms would be mild and your body would gradually recover. But if you notice, ‘Jeez, I went on one mile and I’m kind of short of breath.’ That’s a real good reason to call your doctor for some checkups and potential testing.”
Testing could include blood work, a chest X-ray, or even an E.K.G.
Weber says as many know, the younger patients are more resilient.
“We know that the older you get, of course, the harder COVID is on your body.”
“For exercise in athletes, we worry most about the heart and lungs as they return to exercise, so if we apply that same rule, meaning if someone gets pretty hard with COVID and they have a high-grade fever for five to six days, and they’re out of work for two to three weeks, then we’re really more careful about getting them tested before they go back to playing,” Weber explained.
For athletes, it’s recommended, and in many cases, required that they get a yearly sports physical. Some practices may require patients who have recovered from COVID-19 to get clearance from a specialist like a cardiologist. Weber recommends starting with your primary care physician.