While Covid-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, emerging data has demonstrated that infection can result in damage to other organs and up to 22% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 suffer from cardiac damage. Long term cardiac effects of Covid-19 infection remains unknown, but sports cardiologists are concerned that lasting effects could increase the risk of abnormal heart rhythms in athletes during exercise.
In May 2020, The American College of Cardiology’s Sports Cardiology Leadership council published an expert consensus statement outlining recommendations for athletes who contracted Covid-19 as well as suggestions for recreational and competitive athletes to safely exercise during the ongoing pandemic.
- Asymptomatic Individuals without Covid-19
- Continued regular exercise is appropriate and beneficial.
- Standard 6 feet distancing may not be sufficient to account for the more vigorous breathing of exercise.
- Maintain 13-16 feet distance if walking, 32 feet if running and 65 feet if cycling.
- Appropriate hand and equipment hygiene. Frequent disinfection is encouraged.
- Covid-19 Positive Patients
- Asymptomatic: No exercise for 2 weeks from positive test result then slow resumption of exercise and activity.
- Mild Symptoms (not hospitalized): No exercise during symptom period. Two weeks after symptoms resolve one can slowly begin exercise. If a patient develops any symptoms during exercise they are encouraged to see a physician for testing.
- Significant symptoms (hospitalized): See a physician prior to restarting exercise. You may require cardiovascular testing prior to returning to the playing field, gym, or track.
If you have any questions or concerns about exercising during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of whether you had an infection, please schedule an appointment with Inova Sports Cardiology by calling 571-472-2900.