In April of 2022, actress Alyssa Milano told NBC New York that she was still struggling with symptoms of the COVID-19 infection she had contracted more than a year earlier.
"Every symptom that they list ... I have had,” she said. “Shortness of breath, heart palpitations, brain fog, exhaustion at four o'clock in the evening, tingling in my hands and feet, and forgetfulness."
That persistent struggle to feel like your old self again after recovering from COVID-19 is something one in 13 adults in America is contending with.
Thankfully, there's some good news for people battling the chronic condition, often called “long COVID.”
The University of Leeds, in the U.K., says that following a program of a gradual return to physical activity delivers "impressive results." Over six weeks, their 31 study participants — who initially reported three "crashes" a week that left them physically, emotionally, and/or cognitively exhausted — said they were crashing only once a week.
What's the program?
The first phase involves breathing exercises and gentle stretching. It then progresses to slow walking, then faster walking and resistance exercises, and on to swimming, cycling, and/or dancing — on the way to getting you back to whatever you were doing before you were ill.
Remain at each level for at least seven days, and should be careful not to overexert yourself.
If you have long COVID, ask your doctor if this program makes sense for you, and together design an individualized routine that takes you gradually through the phases.