She's in the water: taking a splash to manage long COVID | HerCanberra

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She’s in the water: taking a splash to manage long COVID

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Long COVID is exhausting. Do you know anyone who has long COVID symptoms? Do they have a strategic plan in place to return to their pre COVID lifestyle?

In Canberra, the waitlist is long for those struggling with Long COVID. At HerCanberra, we are doing our part to educate our community about the importance of pacing, self-care, and long COVID management strategies. There are options for those who want to make a start on a gradual return to exercise plan post COVID—have you considered taking a splash in the local pools to help manage your symptoms?

My first tip would be to “be patient”. Everyone is unique and knowledge is power—here’s a great recovery guide you may be interested in.

It is recommended to fill out the symptom diary every two to three days, while you’re recovering (liaising with your GP is best practice). The diary is a simple process, where you list your symptoms (eg: fatigue and breathlessness) and rank their severity on a scale of zero to 10.

Pacing yourself throughout the post COVID recovery stages and understanding your recovery time (24 to 48 hours after your workout) will help you understand why you’re not recovering from certain workouts and tasks (or “energy outputs” such as hanging out the clothes and vacuuming the house).

Some people will progress quickly after COVID, others will take six to eight weeks (even longer if you are experiencing long-COVID). I would recommend not putting a timeline on your recovery— only go by “feel” and recovery (heart rate, fatigue, muscle soreness, breathlessness at rest, etc). You know your body best.

This article isn’t about diagnosing or treating long COVID (see your GP or an allied health professional if you are concerned) education and empowerment is our goal. In today’s She’s in the water article we will dive into a post COVID Wall Hydrolates program (Aquatic Wall Pilates), a gentle Deep Water Running flow session and a post COVID swimming shoulder program.

Before we dive into part five did you get a moment to read part one, two, three and four of She’s in the water?

In part one, we discussed “the why” behind immersing in water; hydrostatic pressure, blood flow, buoyancy, viscosity, vasodilating, the brain and releasing of neurochemicals, local pools in Canberra and their opening hours, and simply “how to get started”.

In part two, three and four, we introduced the Hydrolates (Aquatic Pilates) and Deep Water Running concepts, self-management equipment options, discussed skin and hair care pre/post water immersion and burnout recovery options in the water.

Welcome to part five of She’s in the water.

Long COVID Wall Hydrolates Session 

Controlled breathing and gentle movement lead to a restful state and mental tranquillity, which can improve pain threshold.

How did you go with last week’s mini-Hydrolates session? At Capital Hydrotherapy we host over 200 Hydrotherapy sessions a week—the small specific classes are perfect for long COVID management, where we focus on toning the Vagus nerve, Wall Hydrolates (supported Aquatic Pilates), and sensory sessions where we create a quiet environment and focus on mindfulness and rebuilding your tolerance levels.

Here’s a mini-Wall Hydrolates program to add to your long COVID recovery tool kit (click here)—it’s based on the wall, so you are supported and stable:

  • Short lever clock taps.
  • Long lever rainbow.
  • Open book.
  • Upright to prone glute stretch.

Again, variety is key.  I’d recommend mixing up the Wall Hydrolates session with some gentle shallow water walking, mindfulness exercises on the wall and Deep Water Running (in a flow state, nothing stress inducing).

Long COVID Deep Water Running—Flow State

Aerobic exercise is only one part of the multifactorial long COVID recovery puzzle. The style, type, duration and intensity should be assessed by an allied health professional—in order to help track, support and individualise the program.

Try the below gentle Deep Water Running session:

Program 1: Broken Flow

  • 4 x 30 sec DWR flow efforts at 60% intensity.
  • One minute active recovery between each repetition (focus on breath).
  • Mindfulness for two minutes on the wall (see part four of She’s in the water for the mindfulness program from Thinkoutloud),

Start with one pool session, track how you recover, then add another session—like building a sturdy stable house (“one brick at a time”).

Post COVID Swimming

Swimming is a lovely low impact form of exercise. Before you get stared, below is a shoulder beginners guide, thanks to our friends at Accelerate Physiotherapy.  The first combination of exercises are designed at prompting strength within the shoulder and its supporting structures around the shoulder blade (see the program here).

These are a really nice starting point as they utilize the resistance within the water against the arm and the shoulder. These exercises can also act as a really nice stepping stone to more difficult exercises.

The second group of exercises (see the program here)  included have been put together to assist with shoulder mobility and positional sense. When these exercises are completed in the water they can help to aid better movement within the shoulder through buoncyancy. These two groups of exercises have been put together to provide a starting put to exercising within the water. As always if any of these exercises cause discomfort or pain it is a good idea to book an appointment with your local physiotherapist who can appropriately assess your shoulder in the instance of pain and dysfunction.

Long COVID is exhausting—however, there are options for those who want to make a start on a gradual return to ADL (Activities of Daily Living). Having a plan in place, choosing a low impact form of exercise, and being monitored regularly by your GP or accredited allied Health professional is a great start.

Did we inspire you to find those old swimmers and take a splash?

Love, Kirra.

Capital Hydrotherapy and Exercise Physiology is open for one-on-one Hydrotherapy, Aquatic Physiotherapy (and land-based Physio), land-based Exercise Physiology, small group therapy, Hydrolates™ classes (Aquatic Pilates) with strict COVID-safe precautions.

If you are injured, have a chronic health condition, or need a plan to improve your health and wellbeing—call us today 6156 2223!

Disclaimer: The information provided by Kirra Rankin is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Her Canberra advises our community to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they’re seeking more specific medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

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