Covid-19 and Exercise

We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19 since early 2020, but there are still many things we’re working to understand.

At this time there is scientific research to support stopping physical activity during COVID-19 infection AND FOR 10 DAYS AFTER RESOLUTION OF SYMPTOMS. Members of the community who are diagnosed with COVID-19 by lab test but do not have symptoms, should stop exercise for 10 days starting on the day of testing. This recommendation comes from multiple national medical associations and is due to concern for increased impact of the COVID-19 virus on your heart, lungs and other organs as a result of moderate to vigorous physical exertion while infected.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Cardiology also strongly recommend a medical evaluation by a physician following your illness before returning to exercise.

HOWEVER, we continue to recommend regular exercise for members of the community who are 1) asymptomatic, 2) otherwise healthy, and 3) have no expected risk of COVID-19 infection. The national goal of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week has proven benefits to mental, cardiovascular, and immune health – all of which we need during this stressful time.

Being active in the age of COVID-19 is suddenly a lot harder; but – by following the basic guidelines listed below – it is definitely still possible to stay active:

1) Keep up with all of the local and regional guidelines on mask-use, social distancing, and community gatherings. Exercise is a crucial part of mental and physical health, but it should be done without putting our safety or the safety of others at risk. Current Vermont Department of Health Guidelines regarding COVID-19 can be found here. National guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can be found here.

2) If you have concerns that you may have contracted COVID-19 (ie. you are experiencing cold symptoms or have a known exposure to COVID-19), you should stop anything beyond light exercise (eg. walking) until you are considered cleared of risk of having COVID by your medical provider or are confirmed to have COVID-19.

3) If you are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, we strongly recommend that you STOP EXERCISE WHILE SICK AND FOR THE TWO WEEKS AFTER SYMPTOMS HAVE RESOLVED. This is meant to allow your heart and lungs to recover from the infection before putting them under regular exertion again. As mentioned above, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 by lab test but do not have symptoms, you should stop exercise for the two weeks following the day of testing.

4) Any patient with a COVID-19 infection should make an appointment with a medical provider (such as the providers at Evergreen Sports Medicine and Family Health) for a medical examination once his or her quarantine period has ended but before resuming moderate to high intensity exercise/training – particularly if they have a known underly-
ing lung / heart conditions or are a competitive athlete.

We understand that this is a complicated and incredibly stressful issue. If you have any questions, please feel free to make an appointment to sit down with our team.

-Evergreen Sports Medicine and Evergreen Family Health Partners