To date, on a global scale, almost 70 million people have been infected with covid-19, and of those, about 40.180.000 have overcome it. However, studies refer that this systemic pathology can leave temporary or permanent sequelae in the body. The condition not only impacts the respiratory system but its consequences spread to the vascular system, the kidneys, the intestine and the heart.
For many of the recovered, the physical condition changes considerably and they may feel fatigued or more tired than usual. That is why the scientific community recommends giving priority to physical and mental rest, reducing the use of electronic devices, staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet and carrying out a prudent exercise routine, according to the body's energy level.
In scientific evaluations it is estimated that at least 16% of patients with mild symptoms have some type of cardiac complications that do not result from an aggravation of the disease as such, but rather that those infected present cardiovascular conditions when they require extra work from their system cardiovascular.
The cardiovascular system is primarily made up of the heart, veins, arteries, and capillaries that supply oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, all by pumping blood. It also plays a key role in the elimination of carbon dioxide in the body, as it transports it to the heart and lungs to be disposed of through respiration.
Physiotherapist Eduardo Mora, head of the Department of Respiratory Therapy at Urológico San Román in Caracas, explains that those who suffered from the disease in a moderate or severe state, for the most part, are left with sequelae in breathing because pulmonary fibrosis occurs, which is evolutionary damage to the respiratory system that is not reversed; the tissue is damaged and scarring that prevents oxygen from reaching the blood vessels. Even patients with mild symptoms, even having covid-19, should have a medical follow-up to see pulmonary changes.
“They are left with some respiratory sequelae, some cardiac pressures, but the vast majority - of the moderate and severe - end up suffering respiratory sequelae because Sars-Cov-2 pneumonia causes fibrosis and that is irreparable, the damage remains, and they are the ones who find it most difficult to carry out their daily activities ”, he says.
He explained that with fibrosis, the alveolar architecture is lost and makes ventilation of the lungs difficult. Many of the mild and asymptomatic patients do not see their lifestyle aggravated, the moderate and severe ones do, "get tired when going from bed to the bathroom and have muscle weakness," he said.
Mora said that, after discharge, it is important to treat mobility and physical activity of all body segments. Those people who did sports before suffering from COVID-19, “it will help them in recovery”, but “they cannot pretend that they are going to do all the physical activity they used to at once; they should do it progressively, it is important that a person guides it, ”stressed the specialist, who provides advice through his instagram @fisioeduardoterapia.
The physiotherapist said that as the post-COVID-19 patient recovers his strength, he has to increase the resistance time when walking or doing movements: initially 10 minutes until reaching 30. Another aspect that must be worked on is exercise of respiration, and recalled that all organisms are not and do not have the same capabilities.
The consequence of not doing a gradual muscular and physical rehabilitation process can aggravate the situation, because the body has to adapt to the damage that exists in the lung until it is overcome. While sexual activity will depend on the state of mind, although this generates a certain caloric act and energy expenditure; it is preferable to be "restrained", he agreed.
Guide to physical exercise
The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Columbia University developed a guide in which it specifies that after overcoming the coronavirus, it is recommended to walk to improve general conditioning for a week for 5 minutes five times a day; second week: 10 minutes, three times a day, and the third 15 minutes, twice a day.
In addition, in the text they point out that it is very positive to keep the back straight as much as possible, as well as to do breathing exercises to help open the lungs. Columbia defines this program in phases: very light, light, moderate, vigorous activity, very difficult effort and maximum effort.
Upward muscle toning
Experts say that the best way to regain the energy capacity of the body in whom the sequelae are minimal or none is to incorporate activities of daily life as a method of exercise. Climbing stairs and doing simple movements for 5 or 10 minutes is recommended to begin to tone the muscles and regain strength.
But, the main thing after recovery is, especially for sports professionals, amateurs or practitioners of home exercises, go to a doctor for a check-up before resuming their lifestyle or training to measure physical and cardiac resistance, as well as pulmonary. Myocarditis must be ruled out.
Myocarditis is basically a condition that derives from infection and inflammation - consequences caused by covid-19 -. It reflects certain signs linked to arrhythmia, which is an irregularity in the heartbeat, and which contract it, making it difficult for the blood to pump through the arteries. That is why, when efforts are made or, occasionally, exercises, the heart must function quickly and optimally because it demands more oxygen.
- Gyms During treatments to overcome illness caused by the virus, the body stops adapting to the daily rhythm. Those who are used to going to the gyms cannot resume the routine they had before the pandemic. Reincorporation should be gradual, supported by professional orientation and doing aerobics for a time at home or open places.
- Perform physical exercise daily such as aerobic skills: walking and running; body-building exercises like getting up and sitting down from a chair, plus push-ups.
- Monitor the intensity of the exercises through the sensation of shortness of breath.
- Begin exercises with light and progressively moderate intensities.
- The World Health Organization recommends walking or stretching for three to four minutes to help relax muscles and improve circulation.