Now that corona infections are often less severe, sports fanatics are wondering what medical science thinks about sports with or after corona. The athlete wants to know the medical risks and long-term consequences if you have the coronavirus, and you continue to exercise vigorously. “When the corona virus just broke out, it was strongly advised not to exercise, even if you had no or almost no complaints,” he recalls. “This is because some high-profile athletes have developed myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and even died after contracting corona that sometimes they didn’t even notice themselves. I’ve also heard that exercising too early or too intensely during or after an injury can lead to to infection with the Corona virus.
Sports cardiologist Harald Jorstad of Amsterdam UMC can be brief on this matter: “Are you really sick with Corona – so you don’t smell a bit, but do you have complaints such as fever, muscle aches all over your body, joint pain – then, absolutely As with all other viruses, don’t go to exercise.” According to Jorstad, people are likely to exercise with corona, simply because they don’t know they are infected if there are no complaints. There is no indication from science that this causes problems. With mild complaints, so you have a cold and sore throat, things get complicated. Can you start exercising after that? Probably yes, but we don’t know that very well yet.
People are better able to tolerate the new halo variants
There have already been (senior) athletes who have developed myocarditis after contracting the coronavirus, says Jorstad, but there haven’t been many studies on this yet. We did research on this in the first two waves of corona, which showed that there were indications of myocarditis in 2 to 3 percent post-injury. We are now two years later: people have been vaccinated and are more tolerant of the new corona variants. So the question is whether the numbers are still valid.”
Jorstad cannot say whether intense exercise with or after corona increases the risk of contracting the Covid-19 lung virus. “The books are not yet closed on the long-running coronavirus, we actually don’t know enough what exactly it is. Some people go back to work immediately after infection and are not bothered by anything, others have post-Covid syndrome.”
“Sweating from infection is the last thing you should do.”
It is also sometimes recommended to sweat out an illness or a cold, for example by exercising. “Sweating after an infection is the last thing you should do. We think you have a higher risk of infection, for example an increased risk of developing myocarditis.” This inflammation of the heart muscle is life threatening and should not be underestimated. Your heart can get scarred, you can develop an irregular heartbeat and the disease can be fatal, Jorstad said.
What the sports cardiologist especially wants to stress: Give your body time to recover if you feel sick, to prevent potentially serious consequences. “Take infection seriously. How bad is it to take a sick day for two or three? Not only do you risk infecting others if you go to the gym with the virus or train with your running club. You’re also doing your body more harm than good. When Be patient, don’t cross the line, when in doubt, take the easy way out and never get tired of it.”
On Het Consult, experts answer readers’ health questions every week. Also a healthy question? Send an email to [email protected].
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