When you’re at home with Covid, what do you do? 5 simple ways to improve your breathing

As a cardiorespiratory physiotherapist, I assist patients with heart and breathing issues in managing and recovering from a variety of conditions. Here are some easy exercises to help you get started with COVID at home. COVID indications and symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, and exhaustion. Moreover, the great majority of individuals will treat their symptoms at home. As a cardiorespiratory physiotherapist, I assist patients with heart and breathing issues in managing and recovering from a variety of conditions.

Here are some easy exercises to help you get started with COVID at home.

Why should I work out if I have COVID?

When you’re unwell, your body needs some rest. However, while on COVID, you may improve your symptoms by practicing easy, mild activities. COVID symptoms are more common in those who are older, overweight, or have a chronic illness like diabetes or cardiovascular (heart/circulation) and respiratory (lung) disease.

As a result, many individuals would benefit greatly from modest, light exercise at home.

1. Relaxed Breathing

This exercise is especially beneficial if you are experiencing shortness of breath:

  • Stabilize yourself in a comfortable and solid posture. Drop your shoulders and take a calm, deep breath in.
  • Take a deep breath and exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth.
  • Do the exercise again for a minute.

You may do this exercise as many times as you like. However, if you start to feel dizzy, stop since taking too many breaths in a succession can create mild headiness. Perform the workout in a room with plenty of natural light. If you’re hot, use a moist cloth to cool your face while you’re doing it.

This workout requires you to adopt a comfortable posture. For most individuals, sitting on a supported chair is the most comfortable option. However, for some COVID patients, sitting on a chair is too taxing. In these cases, the World Health Organization recommends doing this exercise in other postures, such as resting on your side.

2. Take a deep breath

This may help you get more oxygen and relax your nerves:

  • Raise yourself to a standing posture. Your shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Inhale deeply for two to three seconds via your nostrils. If you’re able, hold your breath for three seconds.
  • Exhale via your mouth or nose, whatever is most comfortable for you.
  • Do the exercise again for a minute.

Stop if you get dizzy once again. This activity may cause you to cough and come up with some phlegm. If you do need to cough, use a tissue to cover your mouth and dispose of it in a sealed bag after each use. After that, properly wash your hands.

3. Lie down on your stomach (if you can)

You may have heard about the advantages of laying on your stomach (proning) during breathing exercises from others, such as JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. Proning is a popular practice in hospitals for patients who need more oxygen. The evidence for proning at home, on the other hand, is mixed, and it is not for everyone. Some individuals may find lying on their stomach for at least 30 minutes to be quite unpleasant, particularly if they have neck or lower back discomfort. Sitting upright or resting on their side while performing breathing exercises may be preferable options for these persons.

However, if you want to attempt proning, here are some pointers:

  • Avoid proning after a meal.
  • Select a solid surface on which to lie. Soft bedding may increase the discomfort of laying on your stomach for your back.
  • Shift your head to the side. For added comfort, place a pillow beneath your stomach, feet, arms, and head.
  • At all times, have someone with you, particularly if you’re attempting something for the first time. To avoid cross-infection, both you and your assistant should wear a mask.
  • Avoid proning with children under the age of one year.

4. Exercise on a regular basis

Even if other symptoms have subsided, persons with moderate COVID symptoms may continue to feel tired. Simple workouts are done throughout the day while in isolation may assist to mitigate the consequences of COVID’s restricted mobility. Try sitting in a chair and standing up, then doing it again for a minute. You may also march for two minutes on the spot. Pacing and prioritizing your activities to ensure that you participate in regular activities throughout the day may also aid with tiredness management.

5. Recognize when you need to visit a doctor

If you or a family member is experiencing chest discomfort, trouble breathing despite home treatment, dizziness, new weakness in your face, arm, or leg, increasing disorientation, problems staying awake, or thoughts of self-harm, you should get medical help right once.

You may also utilize online symptom checkers to get recommendations on what you should do next, such as when to contact an ambulance. Consult your local doctor if your COVID symptoms linger longer than two weeks. They may be able to recommend you to a pulmonary (lung) rehabilitation center or a physiotherapist who specializes in lung problems.

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