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COVID has prevented us from participating in lots of physical activities over the past few years. Now that we can have a more regular exercise schedule, it can be hard to pull back if you fall sick with COVID. So, should you run if you have COVID-19?
You should not run if you are sick with COVID-19 because it can affect your breathing and slow your recovery time. Running while sick further weakens your immune system which increases the effect that COVID-19 has on your body. You should let your body rest until you’re no longer sick with the virus.
We understand that you might be itching to get your daily run in, but there are other ways to exercise instead of running with COVID.
Should I run if I have COVID-19?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, it is recommended that you don’t undertake any running activities or other physically demanding exercises. Instead, you should be resting, giving your body time to fight off the virus and recover. Even after you have recovered, initially you shouldn’t be running as much as before you got COVID-19. COVID-19 mostly attacks your respiratory system which is the whole system involved with your breathing. If you try to run while you’re sick you will struggle to breathe and can risk becoming more ill. Your immune system will already be lowered and running can take away the energy needed to fight the virus. This can make you experience COVID-19 symptoms for longer and potentially increase how much it affects your health.
Once you are no longer testing positive for COVID-19, you’re allowed out and about again. But you shouldn’t jump straight back into running because your body may take some time to recover. You can try a mix of running and walking as a way to train your body to run again. This kind of interval running is a better and less intense running exercise to do after you’ve had COVID-19, just while your body finished recovering.
Should I run if I am exposed to COVID?
If you have been exposed to COVID but not tested positive it’s okay to continue going for runs. Provided that you aren’t showing symptoms of COVID-19, you are able to continue all of your regular exercises. Physical activity is a great way to boost your immune system when you aren’t sick. But if you are sick with COVID or have COVID symptoms, running can have the opposite effect. Your body won’t have the energy to fight off the virus and you can end up even sicker.
You can protect yourself from COVID when running by wearing quality face masks that are still light but provide good protection. This will help keep you safer if you’re exposed to COVID when out running. If you have been exposed to COVID you can continue running unless you start to show COVID symptoms. If this happens, it’s a sign to take a test and give your body time to recover from any sickness.
Can I go for a run with COVID?
Most places will tell you that you can’t go for a run with COVID because if you are sick you need to isolate yourself. If you were to go for a run with COVID you could expose many other people to the virus and cause them to become sick as well. Instead, you should be isolated at home for the recommended isolation period. Give your body time to recover from the virus before venturing out to run again. You won’t be able to run without stopping if you’re sick with COVID and instead will exhaust your body increasing your sickness. So, don’t go running with COVID.
When can I resume running after recovering from COVID?
It’s recommended to wait a couple of weeks after recovering from COVID before you start running properly again. If you push your body too soon after being sick with COVID you risk becoming sick again, feeling exhaustion, fatigue, and causing injury. Viruses such as COVID-19 can really knock your body and health, so it’s important to take the right amount of time to recover. Your immune system will take at least a couple of weeks after you’ve been sick to become strong again. During this time, you’re very susceptible to falling sick from other illnesses. Running too soon can increase your chances of becoming sick again. This is because your body won’t have the energy to continue to repair your immune system and fight off other diseases. So, you are best to wait a couple of weeks after recovering from COVID before running at full intensity again.
How do I return to running after having COVID?
Starting with interval training is the best way to run after having COVID. It’s a gradual process, just like any kind of fitness training. COVID can cause your fitness to deplete quickly which means you’ll need to work your fitness levels back up again. If you don’t gradually return to running and instead immediately try and push yourself to run full-out, you will be likely to end up injured. A study has shown a higher incidence of injuries in runners who completely immersed themselves in their running after having COVID. So, start with your walking and jogging intervals.
You should reduce the distance you would usually run by 50% when you first return to running after having COVID. Cover this distance in the first week of exercising at a much slower pace than normal. In the second week you can increase the distance you cover by 20% if you feel capable of doing so. If your body is still struggling a bit, it’s okay to slow down more or take longer to work your running abilities back up.
The best things you can do when running after having COVID are to exercise outdoors, properly fuel your body, and slowly increase speed and distance. If you don’t properly fuel your body, your recovery time will lengthen, and you could end up very sick again. So, eat good, energizing food, get lots of sleep, and drink loads of water. Then exercise in running and walking intervals while you build your cardio strength back up again. Within a few weeks of basic running training after recovering from COVID, and properly caring for your body, you could be running full out again!
While you’re trying to help your body recover after COVID, avoid these six foods you never knew could cause inflammation. For lots more helpful health and lifestyle tips, check out our Vidar Australia blog!