COVID AND LONG COVID REHABILITATION:
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR REHABILITATION? As the devastating effects of Covid and long Covid are starting to be realised, it is important that people have a plan for rehabilitation.
As with any post-viral rehabilitation the most important thing to remember is that it will take time.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE BODY WHEN IT IS IMMOBILE: We know from research that if a body is immobile, and a patient is in bed for a period of 72 hours then muscle strength starts to deteriorate.
Some Covid patients will have been bed bound for a much longer period of time and their bodies will feel very weak and often people do not know where to start on a rehabilitation plan.
In our bodies we have muscles that move us and muscles that stabilise us. If the stabilising system is weak, then the movement muscles take over the stabilising role. These movement muscles fatigue quickly and often go into spasm, which can lead to pain. Please refer to the previous blog “What is a Strong Body” for more detailed information on understanding movement and stability systems of the body.
With post-viral rehabilitation, it is important to follow a structured rehabilitation program that focuses on key stabilising muscles, which starts at the very basic level of recruitment. By strengthening these muscles through the functional activities of lying, sitting, standing and walking, you can rebuild the body correctly.
CONSIDER: The Foundation programme on Corefulness.com has been designed to be accessible to everyone. Whatever your level of activity, age or body state, the FREE six week, video-based program teaches you how to find these muscles and strengthen them functionally so that you use them every day to rehabilitate your body.
By using the Foundation programme, alongside a gentle cardiovascular programme, you can build the stability and the movement muscular systems.
GENTLE CARDIOVASCULAR ACTIVITY: Walking is one of the best cardio-vascular activities to do because it is functional.
If you are recovering from Covid or have long Covid symptoms, then consider starting at a level of walking for only five minutes and repeat this every other day for five sessions. You could then build this up to walking for five minutes every day for five sessions. If your body is coping well, then build this up to seven minutes walking for five sessions. Slowly progress your walking time by two minutes every five sessions. To summarise:
- Start with a 5 minute walk every other day for 5 sessions
- Move to a 5 minute walk every day for 5 sessions
- Move to a 7 minute walk every day for 5 sessions
- Move to a 9 minute walk every day for 5 sessions
- The aim is to reach 20 minutes of walking a day.
HEART RATE: Walk at a pace where your arms naturally swing. At this pace you will raise the heart rate a little, somewhere between 105-125 beats per minute. Don’t walk or exercise any faster at this time.
By increasing the cardiovascular activity slowly, you are avoiding what we call a ‘boom and bust’ reaction. This is where an individual tries to do too much, too soon and the muscles react by going into spasm and produce pain, and the body can fatigue.
Some days the body may feel very tired and on these days, don’t fight the fatigue. Allow the body to rest. Perhaps perform a couple of gentle core exercises from the Foundation module and then pick up from where you left off the next day.
TAKE YOUR TIME: Remember Take Your Time, this type of rehabilitation takes time and focus.
By using a combination of the Corefulness Foundation programme and a gentle cardiovascular activity you should be able to build strength and endurance and gain a greater awareness of the functional core stability system for a stronger, fit and active life.
Please forward this information to family and friends and help each other stay safe and help the NHS.