Helping Long Covid Runners Get Back on Their Feet

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Penn developed a physical therapy program that varies according to the severity of each patient’s symptoms. “For some patients who are truly severely affected and unable to do any activity, how can we rebuild the household chores that you have to do on a daily basis? How can we speed it up throughout the day so we don’t have to do everything at once?”

For those with less severe symptoms, focus on gradually returning to activity by keeping the heart rate at 60 to 70 percent of their maximum at first. “If they accept and they accept for a week or two, we will build on that,” he said.

D., cardiologist and co-program director of sports cardiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. R. Kannan Mutharasan said that long-distance Covid patients “tend to have a honeymoon period, maybe two or three weeks after the acute illness.” “They finally pull themselves together and say, ‘I’m going out for a run,'” she said. But later, they realize that they don’t feel the same as before. After a few weeks, they may experience things like “dizziness or a rapid heartbeat even when walking.”

That’s what happened to one of her patients, Hannah Engle, 23, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 last July. He tried going for a run again in October and his heart rate jumped to 210 beats per minute. He’s currently on a “take it slow” approach, but he’ll still experience setbacks if he overdoes it. In May, for example, she experienced chest pain and dizziness after a simple workout with jumping and stretching.

Miss Engle had always been an active person. She competed in diving, cheerleading, and gymnastics as a child, and even did club-level gymnastics throughout college. After graduating, she remained active with CrossFit, weight lifting, and 5K running while working in Arlington, Va., to encourage people to enter STEM fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math.

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