It is estimated that over five million Australians have now had Covid. Chances are, either you or someone you know have contracted the virus. As it is affecting more and more of our Body Reformers Scarborough community, we thought it was a good time to discuss returning to exercise post Covid.
While there is no clear, evidence-based guide on returning to physical activity and Pilates, it is generally agreed that it should be gradual, and only after 7 days since you have experienced any symptoms. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body and stop when something does not feel right. As hard as it might be, try and let go of any guilt about not exercising! Rest and recovery should be your number one priority.
Gradual return to exercise and Pilates
While everyone is different, and recovery times will differ, we have outlined a phased approach based on research by Dr. Salman & colleagues at the BMJ on returning to physical activity and Pilates at Body Reformers Scarborough after Covid-19. Spend at least 7 days in each phase and if symptoms return or exercise feels too hard, drop back a phase.
Phase 1: Preparing the body for movement e.g., gentle breathing exercises & stretches.
Try this stretch class our Body Reformers Family page – https://www.facebook.com/531429569/videos/10158209323949570/
Phase 2: Low intensity activity e.g., gentle walking, light household/garden tasks, balance exercises.
The Body Reformers Strength & Stretch classes would be the best option for this phase, or a gentle walk along the Scarborough beachfront, making the most of the beautiful weather at this time of year!
Phase 3: Progress to moderate intensity & strength training.
Our Reformer Pilates classes are ideal for this phase; however, take it easy, start with level 1 options and let your instructor know that you have had Covid so she can provide you with modifications if required.
Phase 4: Increased intensity and more complex movements that challenge coordination, strength and balance e.g., running, jumping, lunges & squats.
Phase 4 classes are the Body Reformers Jump or SSS Reformer classes. Both will challenge the cardiovascular system and your muscular strength and endurance. Work at a level that is right for you. One day may be different to the next so remember to adjust your workouts to suit.
After completing phase 4, you should then feel able to return to your baseline (pre-Covid) level of activity or more.
When to stop
It is likely you will feel a little more out of breath or not as strong when you first return to exercise but if you find you are experiencing dizziness, racing heart, breathlessness, or extreme fatigue or exhaustion, it could be a sign that you need to take a break. Chest pain is also something to watch out for, as some people with Covid can develop myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), this is rare however in those with mild to moderate cases. It is important to monitor how you are feeling 1 hour after exercise and the next day. If you are struggling in any way, either physically or mentally, it is important you reach out to your GP and medical team for support.
Will Pilates at Body Reformers help me?
Absolutely! As long as you take it slow and build your strength and fitness levels gradually. Whether you have done Pilates for years or just starting out, just remember that everyone is different, and while some people may bounce back quickly after Covid, it does not mean that you should. Try to be kind to yourself and realistic with your goals, and if you are struggling with motivation, even just 10-15 minutes of stretching and breathing will help with blood flow and energy levels. Or you could try BRTV for short, effective home workouts for those days or weeks when it is difficult to get to the studio! https://tv.bodyreformers.com.au/
We are always here to help, so if you have any questions or concerns at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Liza, Suzanna & the Body Reformers Team