For healthy and active people, becoming unwell isn’t usually too much of a concern, as we often bounce back quickly and easily. The potential for developing Long Covid certainly changes things and puts us in a more cautious position when it comes to returning to sport.
Having had Covid myself a couple of months ago, I have had a few questions head my way….how did I manage returning to training? When did I resume full training? Is Pilates a good idea for me in my recovery?
The purpose of this blog is to provide some insight into my approach and experience with returning to sport following Covid. As we know every individuals experience of and response to Covid can be vastly different and as a result there is no single protocol to follow, hence the difficultly we can face when tackling this situation. Please view my musings as an opportunity to take some insight and ideas as oppose to taking it on board as a guideline to follow. Always listen to how your body feels and consult your Health Professionals for any individualized guidance that you may need.
I doubt there is every good time to contract Covid-19, however, off season is certainly more favorable! Having Covid at the end of summer allowed me to be patient and take a conservative approach to my recovery. I was able to be more relaxed about losing fitness and taking time away from training. I tried to focus on a strategy that would help my fitness and health in the long run!
The Initial Phase
During my early recovery I followed Covid return to sport protocols that I had sourced and was directed to by other Health Professionals. I used these alongside recommendations from my Sports Doctor.
Most of the information I have seen recommends taking 10 days of full rest AND 7 days symptom free before returning to activity. Along with of course judging how you are feeling.
I did no exercise for the first 10 days. Following that, I took a two-week period where I did one activity a day of low intensity and less than 60mins in duration. I supplemented my aerobic exercise with light gym, Pilates and Yoga.
I found it helpful to change my wording around sport – using words such as exercise instead of training. This helped me avoid putting expectation or pressure on myself to hit any numbers in terms of pace or duration and keep the intensity low and go by feel. I was well aware that I had lost fitness and it was going to take time to rebuild back to fitness. Jogging is a sport anyway right?!
The Middle Ground
The following 2-4 weeks: I gradually increased my duration of activity and later built to doing two sessions a day on the weekends or the days of the week I might fit this in already. This was a gradual phase and there were days where forwent planned exercise for more rest or shortened the intended duration. I tried to use both energy and motivation levels as an indicator of what I should do and when. If I had the energy to do more, I instead chose to get stuck into projects at home or additional Pilates practice.
Embracing Movement & Outdoors
As I was in my off season, I found it really helpful to return to enjoying movement and the outdoors, heck, this is why I found endurance sport in the first place! A couple of tramping trips certainly filled that bucket. It also allowed me to build fitness and strength with less intensity and demand on the cardiovascular system.
Gym and Pilates also ticked this box and is something I have discussed with others. Pilates will help you regain flexibility and strength so that the body can return to exercise with greater ease and much less risk of injury. Because the last thing we want is to return to training….only to be off again with a niggle or injury!
My final thoughts are to remember the importance of Health, if we have a strong foundation of Health then fitness and performance will have the opportunity to follow. Without Health it is very difficult to achieve and sustain fitness and longevity in sport!
Thanks for reading & Good luck!
fionadowlingpilates.co.nz - enquire about Pilates options as you return to your sport!