Are you Recovering from Covid Fatigue? For many people diagnosed with Covid, fatigue is a fairly common symptom. It can make you feel dull and tired, take away your energy, and eat away at your ability to get things done for weeks or even months. There are steps to take for anyone returning to their former activities, especially sports.
What Does Covid Fatigue Feel Like?
Symptoms can range from:
Short-term memory issues
Loss of appetite
Inability to stay focused
Reduced immune system
Sore or achy muscles
What Steps Can I Take to Manage Covid Fatigue?
We’ve spoken with Nancy Spence C.A.T. (C), O.M.P., a Certified Athletic Therapist and Osteopathic Manual Practitioner, to answer this question. Nancy gives the following advice:
Tips For Athletes:
Seek medical advice from your Family Doctor or a Sports Medicine Doctor on when to increase your activity level. Then work with an O.M.P., C.A.T., or other trained health professionals to plan your return to training or sport. (Note: Your doctor may require further tests to determine when it’s safe for you to start exercising.)
Mild COVID-19 infection with no cardiovascular symptoms? Once you are no longer using medications and have been symptom-free for 7 days, start a Graduated Return to Play Protocol (GRTP). ( If any Covid symptoms return, move back to the previous GRTP level and only advance once you are symptom-free for at least 24 hours)
Signs of new or returning Covid symptoms:
Elevated morning heart rate
Increased shortness of breath with exercise
Elevated perception of exertion
Heart rate is higher than it should be for moderate activity
Graduated Return to Play Steps
Step 1 (min. of 10 days) – daily living and walking with minimal exertion. The most important goal is to allow for recovery time.
Step 2 (min. of 2 days) – do a max. 15 minutes of exertion, making sure you stay below 70% of your max heart rate.
Step 3a (min. of 1 day) does 30 minutes or less of exertion at less than 80% of your max heart rate. Movements and activities such as running drills work. The goal is to increase the load and manage fatigue symptoms gradually.
Step 3b (min. of 1 day) do less than 45 minutes or less of exertion at less than 80% of your max heart rate. This allows progress to more complex training activities. The goal here is to re-build exercise coordination and skills.
Step 4 (min. of 2 days) do greater than 60 minutes of normal training activities at less than 80% of your max heart rate. The goal here is to restore confidence and access functional skills.
Step 5 – No earlier than day 17 in your Return to Play – resume your normal training program. The goal is to work towards your normal training.
3 Tips for Everyone Dealing with Fatigue after Covid
Rest: Rest is an integral part of the recovery process. This will allow your body to heal faster. Relax your mind and your body by minimizing your exposure to digital devices. Meditation, music and deep breathing can help.
Sleep: Fatigue can make you sleepier than before, and it’s essential to get 6-8 hours of quality sleep. Use good sleep practices like avoiding caffeinated drinks or eating before bed.
Nutrition: Nutritious foods help you recover faster and fight fatigue, so include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Avoid processed foods and opt for whole grains over refined carbs, staying hydrated with at least 8 glasses of water a day.
It’s essential to listen to your body and what it needs. And remember that if you want to spend your downtime simply resting, that’s okay. –
Are you or someone you know suffering from Covid Fatigue?
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Veronika Kovecses
Has Reading ‘Recovering from Covid Fatigue’ answered any questions you may have had?