Let’s face it: COVID-19 is a nightmare for individuals, schools, and economies across the globe. While we can take smart precautions to avoid getting sick, it still happens. And if you’re a jogger, the nasty virus can wreak havoc with your running routine. So, how long should runners wait before they can resume running after COVID-19? What if you just got vaccinated? Let’s break it all down.
How Does COVID-19 Affect Runners?
Whether you’re a marathon runner or just hit the pavement occasionally, it might make sense to pull back from your routine if you’ve been diagnosed with COVID. Why? As the virus infects your body, it attaches itself to the healthy cells in your lung tissue. Among the symptoms that most impact runners, a respiratory infection can cause coughing and shortness of breath. These symptoms can make breathing difficult, and you might struggle to make it even halfway through your normal jogging route.
Running When You Have COVID
If you’ve been diagnosed with the virus, it’s smart to wait until you recover before exercising. However, if you’re asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms, it’s reasonable to wonder if you can continue running even while you’re sick. Short answer: it depends.
Experts say that if your symptoms are above the neck—think stuffy nose and sneezing—then running is fine so long as you don’t overdo it. In fact, a light jog might even boost your chances of a quicker recovery since it ramps up the immune system and opens up your nasal passages. Just be smart: don’t run with a group and practice social distancing so you don’t infect others.
While mild symptoms may not be a cause for concern, COVID sufferers are at a risk for developing blood clots. What this means for your morning jog: take it easy and consider pulling on some compression socks during your run or post-workout since they help prevent blood clots and boost blood flow.
Running After COVID Recovery
Let’s say that you’ve been suffering from major COVID symptoms and are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re itching to get back to the gym, follow these tips:
Take it Easy
While you may have been logging 10 miles every morning before you became ill with the virus, don’t expect your post-recovery runs to come close to that. Your tissues have taken a massive hit, leading to decreased strength, cardiovascular fitness, and lean body mass, so it’ll take a minute to get back into shape. If you push yourself too hard too fast, you risk injury and even scary complications.
Adopt a Gradual Approach
Since running is a high-impact workout, experts recommend adopting a phased approach to running after COVID:
- After a few days of little to no symptoms, begin with low-impact activity, like walking, yoga, or using the elliptical. Follow with static stretches.
- A few days later, aim for just 10-15 minutes of light jogging.
- 7 days later, even if you’re both injury- and symptom-free, increase the duration and intensity of your runs. For instance, if you’ve been running 10 minutes, bump it up to 15.
- After 2 to 3 weeks, you can resume your regular routine. Feeling a little out of breath is normal as you get back into regular exercise, so be gentle with yourself, take plenty of time to recover between runs, and don’t forget to stretch.
Running After COVID Vaccine
What if you’re COVID-free and just got vaccinated? Research shows that running after the vaccine is totally safe, even if there are more chances of side effects after a second shot. So, unless you’re experiencing major symptoms, a run is fine. Good news: if you have arm pain at the vaccine injection site, a good jog can help reduce inflammation and pain!
Running and Recovery
Bottom line: when deciding whether you’re ready to start running after COVID, just listen to your body and be patient. Post-COVID recovery can take time, so make it easy on yourself with the right gear.
FitSok was created especially for runners. Because we’re passionate runners ourselves, we understand that being challenged on the regular and maintaining peak performance is important to runners. That’s why our compression socks are here to help you recover more quickly, lace up your sneaks, and get back out there!