The pandemic we are experiencing around the world has challenged us in ways we never could have imagined. When it hit in the winter of 2019/20, many thought that their health, youth, or fitness level might protect them. At this point it has become clear that we are all vulnerable and no one knows how a Covid-19 infection will affect their body.
New research is focusing on better understanding the long-term effects of the virus, often called Long Covid or Long-Haul Covid. This often appears with symptoms including fatigue, loss of the sense of smell/taste, dizziness, cognitive impairment, headaches, shortness of breath and can last months. (1)
We talked to two of our users about their experience with Coronavirus recovery and they shared their fitness journey with us. Both are healthy women in their 30s, recreational athletes based in Europe, who had mild-to-moderate cases.
What was your fitness level before COVID-19?
Amélie: I used to run at least twice a week, 5 to 10 km, and also worked out at home with the adidas Training app twice a week.
Barbara: I was finally getting back on track with my running after problems with my knee. I wasn’t at my best, but getting there again.
What were your preferred sports/types of exercise?
Amélie: I really like running. It is always hard for me to get motivated, especially when it’s cold and grey outside but once I manage and run with the right music, it gives me a great sense of freedom and helps me cope with the stress of daily life.
Barbara: Running and yoga were my favorites, but I also did strength training & biking.
How did you feel physically while you were infected?
Amélie: It started with a light headache and serious fatigue for a few days. Then I started to have this strange feeling in my lungs like someone was pressing on my chest. One day I was cooking breakfast for my son and I realized that I couldn’t smell or taste my coffee anymore, then I knew it was Covid.
Barbara: My energy level was very low. I had muscle pain, headaches, fever, and lost my sense of smell & taste.
How long did you experience symptoms?
Amélie: The first 4 days of quarantine were not easy. I was out of breath just from talking on the phone and was very scared it would get worse and I would end up in the hospital. After 5 days the breathing got better but I was very very tired and couldn’t do much.
Barbara: I was sick for around 2 weeks, but it took me way longer to get my energy and ability to focus back – for sure a few months. The first days back at work, I worked fewer hours and needed lots of breaks.
How long did it take you to start working out again?
Amélie: I tried to go running around a month later, I managed to do 5 km but I was completely out of breath during the run and my lungs hurt. I switched to walking and did some short home strength workouts but without cardio.
Barbara: I went for a walk again right after quarantine ended, which was roughly a week after my sick leave. I did my first slow & easy yoga session about 2 weeks after my sick leave. My first run after being sick was around 1 month later, and it felt like the first run of my life.
How did you restart your exercise program?
Amélie: I started running and training again but after 5 months, I still have this strange feeling in my lungs from time to time. I had them checked and the doctor said everything looks good. Nevertheless, I am still tired, my motivation is low, and I get out of breath very fast. I ran 5 km recently and it felt a bit better.
Barbara: Slowly. Super, super slowly. With lots of gratitude that I can move again. Just leaving the apartment and being outdoors was a true highlight. Walking felt like a workout.
Did you know?
An otherwise healthy patient recovering from Covid-19 without treatment who has been asymptomatic for 7 days may begin resuming physical activity at 50% the intensity and volume. (2)
Did your performance change?
Amélie: Before having Covid, I could run 10 km without any difficulties. Now, the most I’ve done so far is 5 km. My lungs hurt and I have trouble finding a regular breathing rhythm. I used to run at a pace from 5:40 min/km, now I run 6:45.
Barbara: Yes, and that was very hard to accept for me. It felt like starting over at zero.
Did your goals change after your Coronavirus recovery?
Amélie: Definitely. Now my goal is to manage to find the motivation to go running. I just have to listen to my body and not push it too much.
Barbara: Definitely. My goal right now is to stay healthy and support my body and mind with whatever type of exercise it needs at the moment.
Do you have any words of advice for other people who are infected with COVID-19?
Amélie: Be patient and don’t panic. I try to see the positive side of it: I am most probably immune for a little while and I was lucky to have a relatively mild version of it. (3)
Barbara: Talk to someone about how you are feeling and what you’re going through, also emotionally – be it your partner, a friend, a family member, or a therapist.
Recovering and Moving On
As much as we’d like to think we are invincible, there are a lot of things that can knock us down for a while. If you’ve had to deal with Coronavirus, illness, or injuries, it can be hard to get back on track and motivate yourself to continue your fitness journey. It’s important to listen to your body. Make sure you take care of your body by building rest days into your training routine. At times like this, it’s always a good idea to boost your immune system and try to manage your stress with regular exercise.
Remember, if you are experiencing any symptoms or are recovering from an illness and are concerned about how long it’s taking, talk to your doctor about it.
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What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice
Kevin turned to food for comfort as he dealt with the death of his father. He chose a healthier path when his sister was diagnosed with cancer.
The post What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice appeared first on MyFitnessPal Blog.
Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa
Magnesium for Athletes – Get the Facts
Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when you think of fitness. But, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium truly is and how it can improve your physical performance. We have the facts for you!
Magnesium performs numerous functions
Magnesium is a vital mineral: it is present in nearly every cell of your body. Approximately 30% of the magnesium in your body is stored in the muscles. The mineral performs numerous functions: it is needed for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. Magnesium is also required to form endogenous protein (protein of body origin, rather than dietary origin) and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is also essential to the formation of bone and teeth. In addition, it is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.
How important is magnesium for athletes?
Studies show that the more active you are, the more magnesium you need.(1) Scientists have linked a high level of magnesium in blood to improved muscle performance, such as greater leg strength. This means that you can improve your performance by ensuring an adequate supply of this important mineral. What happens in your body? According to studies, magnesium appears to lower lactate levels in your blood.(2) Lactate (lactic acid) is a metabolite that is primarily produced by intense physical exercise. If it builds up, it can limit muscle performance and you will fatigue faster. Plus, exercising without sufficient magnesium will lead to increased oxygen consumption and heart rate. The mineral also plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It works similar to an antioxidant by strengthening your defenses and protecting you from diseases.
Increased magnesium intake can be helpful
According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy adult females should get 310-320 mg per day and healthy adult males 400-420 mg per day.(3) A balanced diet is usually enough to satisfy this daily requirement. But, if you like to exercise or work a physically demanding job, your diet probably won’t cover your daily needs because you can lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. This loss has to be replaced, but the amount of magnesium required varies depending on the individual and should be discussed with a sports physician.
You also need to consume more magnesium in the case of stress.(4)
How can I tell if I’m getting enough magnesium?
Pay attention to Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
- Leg cramps
- Digestive problems
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Consult your doctor if you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms listed above.
Top 9 Magnesium Rich Foods
The general rule is that getting nutrients through your food is the healthier option – as opposed to taking dietary supplements. The same holds true when it comes to magnesium for athletes. A balanced diet gives us (almost) all the nutrients we need. So which foods are highest in magnesium? Here are the 11 best sources of magnesium:
- Sunflower seeds (395 mg/100 g)
- Pumpkin seeds (402 mg/100 g)
- Sesame (347 mg/100 g)
- Flax seeds (350 mg/100 g)
- Cashews (270 mg/100 g)
- White kidney beans (140 mg/100 g)
- Chickpeas (115 mg/100 g)
- Oats (139 mg/100 g)
- Swiss chard (81 mg/100 g)
Good to know:
Mineral water also contains varying amounts of magnesium. You can find the nutrition facts on the label of the bottle.
Magnesium Supplements – Good or Bad?
If your doctor recommends magnesium supplements to treat a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to be careful about the dosage. You shouldn’t take more than 250 mg of supplemental magnesium per day.(5) Magnesium can act as a natural laxative; if you take too much, it may cause diarrhea.
The more you workout, the more magnesium you need in your diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of magnesium for athletes and focus on meeting your daily requirements with a balanced healthy diet including magnesium rich foods. If you do experience magnesium deficiency symptoms, consult your doctor. Supplements could be a helpful solution. Keep in mind: if you are preparing for a race or competition, make sure to start integrating the supplements into your diet several weeks beforehand to give your body time to adjust.
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