Keeping fit in fight against Covid-19

Monday June 21 2021
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Start with simple leg stretches which are good for the body as one recovers from Covid-19. PHOTO/INTERNET

By Joan Salmon

Covidd-19 is not a death sentence.  There is a 100 percent possibility that one will recover from this global pandemic. However, after all the fight the body puts up to survive, it is normal that one feels extremely tired, lacks energy, struggles to breathe, suffers joint stiffness and muscle weakness as well as have mucus in the chest. 
Having spent several days or weeks down, Brian Kasasa, a sports scientist says your task, for the next couple of weeks is to gradually increase your activity level. 

“That said you must not push yourself so hard because the muscles have some building up to do. Therefore, as you work out, take it slow, set realistic targets and rest when tired. When feeling out of breath, you need to stop because your lungs are just coming out of an onslaught and need to learn to work hard again. The limit should be ‘slightly out of breath’ so you are still able to talk,” he says. 
So,  if  you can leave your bed and get around the house, here are some workouts to do:

This is your go-to exercise when looking at starting out again. With small and short goals,  Kasasa says you can start with walking to the toilet, if you are too weak. 
“Gradually, increase the distance as the body allows. That said even when you feel weak, there must be a target and here is a plan you could work with; five to 10 minutes for the first week and keep adding five minutes with every subsequent week. As you walk, ensure you have somewhere to sit, just in case you get breathless or tired. Working with this plan, the goal is that by week six, you should be walking for 30 minutes.”

Even when you are being careful not to overwork yourself, he advises that you aim at walking fast enough that your lungs and heart get exercised to rejuvenate them. 
“Ultimately, you must get slightly out of breath but still be able to walk and talk,” he advises. 
If your home has stairs, Kasasa says climbing them will leave you out of breath and tired most of the day. 
“It is therefore advisable that you change your living arrangement to settle downstairs until your energy levels pick up.”

Other exercises you can indulge in, according to Moses Mwesigwa, a fitness trainer are:
Seated leg lift
Sit tall, lift your left foot to straighten your leg and hold it for a few seconds (three to four seconds) then put it back on the floor. Do this for 10 times for both legs.
Seated march
While still sitting tall, lift your right knee then return the leg to the floor. Do this for 20 times for both knees.

Sit and stand
With your hands on your chair’s armrests, push yourself to standing position then return, with control, to sitting position. Do this 10 times.
Toe lifts
Once again, while sitting tall, keep your heels on the floor while you raise the toes. Then return the feet to the original position. Do this 20 times.
Rowing arms
With your upper body in a straight position, hold your arms at your shoulders then push your arms in front. Do this for 10 times.


Side legs
Stand tall and hold onto a bar then lift your left leg to the side. Keep the leg straight for three seconds then return to standing position. Do this for 15 minutes.
Remembering that you need to work with a fitness trainer or a physiotherapist as you recoup exercising, Mwesigwa says you will need their consent to progress with the next exercises; 

Knee raise
While standing tall, hold the bar, lift your left knee as high as possible and return to standing position. Do this for 15 times for both knees.
Heel raises
Stand tall, hold the bar and lift your body to stand on your toes. Get back to your normal standing position and repeat this 20 times.
Leg back

At the bar with a straight back, raise your right leg and push it backwards. Keep it straight and do the same for the left.  Do this 15 times for both legs.
Even after recovery, it is advisable that you keep active. While it might seem difficult to visit a gym owing to the lockdown, you can do the workouts from home with the help of a fitness trainer.

Even when you are still stuck indoors or at hospital, working out should be part of your daily routine so that you are eventually stronger to leave the hospital or get out of the house. Becoming active and avoiding long periods in bed is crucial in ensuring your muscles regain strength as this will quicken mental and physical recovery. However, women that have just undergone c-section need to talk with their gynaecologist to ensure that it is appropriate to do any of these workouts.
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