By now, you’ve no doubt heard of long Covid — the phenomenon where people “recover” from the virus that causes COVID-19 but are left suffering with a laundry list of symptoms.
It’s a phenomenon that’s been tied to micro-clots packed with inflammatory molecules that can damage your blood vessels and circulation.
However, what you might not have heard is that if you’re a woman living with long Covid, you may have an extra hard time getting back to normal life, especially if you enjoyed an active lifestyle.
In fact, research from Indiana University is providing evidence that more and more women may not be able to get back to their previous exercise or activity levels if they end up as a Covid long-hauler — unless they receive targeted rehabilitation.
Persistent problems that could get worse without rehab
Although men are known to be at risk for increased severity of Covid symptoms and are also at higher risk of death from the disease, research is showing that it’s women who are more susceptible to certain lung-related limitations months into their recovery.
And the Mayo Clinic has revealed that women outnumber men 3:1 in seeking treatment for persistent symptoms following Covid infection.
In other words, we women are more at risk for long Covid — especially when it comes to lung problems that just don’t go away.
So those Indiana researchers decided to see just how being a Covid long-hauler affects women’s ability to exercise.
They recruited a group of women recovering from mild to moderate COVID, as well as a control group, and had them undergo lung function tests and a simple 6-minute walk on a treadmill.
Then, they measured their heart rates, shortness of breath and more.
And the results were clear: The women with long Covid were unable to exercise as hard and recovered much more slowly than women who weren’t long haulers.
And the longer they experienced shortness of breath during their initial bout with COVID, the worse they did with exercise even after they have “recovered” from the virus.
So what did the researchers conclude?
Study author, Dr. Stephen J Carter answered that question, saying, “Given the greater prevalence of age-related physical disability in women, as compared to men, our findings show that a targeted rehab program might be especially useful to women affected by persistent COVID-19 symptoms — thus promoting recovery and minimizing susceptibility for deteriorating physical condition.”
In other words, if you’re a woman with long Covid, ask your doctor for a referral for rehab to improve your chances of being able to return to your former activity level.
Improving your lung health to support your exercise ability
In addition to rehabilitation, there are also things you can do at home to help restore your lung health to combat the long Covid problems that keep you from being active.
As my colleague, Jenny Smiechowski reported, there are 12 foods that can help build your lung strength that can be included in your diet.
Additionally, since CBD has been found to increase the levels of a lung-protective peptide, it could be great way to help get your breathing abilities back on track.
Finally, be sure to follow the advice of Dr. Isaac Eliaz when it comes to both diet and lifestyle and nine supplements that research has proven can help improve your lung health.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!
Women with long COVID may need targeted rehab to counter problems with physical activity tolerance — The Physiological Society