As the majority of Americans are at risk of coming in contact with COVID-19 we all may ask ourselves, “How will my body respond if I get sick with COVID-19?”. While no one can predict exactly how the COVID-19 illness (SARS-CoV-2) will present itself in each individual, I would like to share my experience as an active person, a personal trainer, and a mom of three young children.
Before COVID-19 hit us
Our family was at high risk of exposure as both my husband and I work outside of the home and all three of our children attend either daycare or Kindergarten. We knew we would likely come into contact with a known positive, but were unprepared for our entire family to test positive within days of each other.
Our exercise schedule, before COVID-19 affected our family, was busy and fulfilling. My husband and I alternated days to get our home-based strength workouts in, along with running and hiking as our schedule allowed. We took all the necessary precautions at work and in the public to prevent exposure to the virus.
Our COVID-19 illness experience
Our coronavirus journey started with my husband exhibiting mild cold-like symptoms such as congestion and lethargy. He self-isolated right away from work and all public areas. We monitored his symptoms and three days later he had a positive test result back. The day after we received his results, I too began to show symptoms.
My symptoms were as follows:
- Sore throat
- Mild shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
These symptoms dragged on for approximately five days. During this time, we were self-isolating with our three children, aged two, four, and six years old. Yes, it was as fun as it sounds!
Our kids and I were tested a day after my husband’s positive result and all four of us came back positive as well.
What I did to feel better
Sleep – Ah sleep, we all know that sleep is vital to recovery and overall well-being. In all honesty, with three (thankfully asymptomatic) kids with pent-up energy at home, sleep was few and far between during our isolation.
In order to feel better I used the following techniques and supplements:
- Zicam ® (homeopathic lozenges), Zincum aceticum 2x and Zincum gluconicum 2x dissolvable tablets, I took one tablet 2-3 times per day after I ate for the first three days of my symptoms.
- Emergen-C ® – A fizzy vitamin supplement with high levels of vitamin c. I drank one packet per day mixed with water during my entire isolation and now drink about 2-3 per week.
- Water – It was important to stay hydrated, especially since appetite was reduced; I needed to be sure I was getting enough water.
- Canada Dry ® Tonic water and lemon – I drank about ½ a small glass bottle per day for three days, although tonic water curing COVID-19 has been widely debunked, I still figured it wouldn’t hurt to add it to my regimen!
- Green Tea – Exciting research has shown compounds in tea (and not just green!) such as EGCG, TSA, and TFDG have strong antiviral activity, though they observed such effects were only present after the virus was introduced into the body.
- Fresh air – I made sure to get outside at least once per day with my kids. Luckily the weather was nice during our isolation and we have a backyard we could play in.
- Music – Music makes everything better. I played my favorite dance music, put my head phones in and zoned out when I had a short break. Music can ease stress, calm you and make you feel better in so many ways.
I wanted to share what I did and used to help ease my symptoms. I am not a medical professional, and recommend always speaking to your provider before taking any supplements.
The mistake I made
Thinking I would feel better after exercising, which is normally the case, I joined my husband for a partner strength workout at home. Although by this time my symptoms had all but completely disappeared, I quickly realized within the first 10 minutes of our workout how exhausted and fatigued my body still was. I certainly do not recommend doing this, but I made some modifications and pushed through until the end.
Immediately after we finished our cool down, I knew I overdid it. In the shower 15 minutes after my workout, I thought I may need to call for my husband’s help. I could barely stand, felt light-headed, nauseous, and weak. The exhaustion stuck with me through the following week and I was surprised at how long it took to regain my drive and motivation to get back to my regular schedule.
What I learned after COVID-19 illness struck
Coronavirus, like most illnesses, affects each individual differently. It humbled me to realize the fine line we walk with our health and I will never take it for granted again. In hindsight, I recognize that I should have listened to my body during my first workout after recovery and started with less intense exercises such as the following:
My advice is to take it slow and consult with a medical professional before returning back to exercise. Give yourself grace to take a rest and recover completely before trying to get back to your regular routine. If you test the waters and they feel too deep, just turn right back around!
How I feel now
Now that it has been more than a month since I received my positive test result. I am back to feeling myself. I am once again teaching virtual strength classes, boarding, skiing, skating, and keeping up with the kids.
As we all know, COVID-19 illness does not fit any one mold. Although it is an awful virus, it has once again taught me to slow down, be thankful for my relatively mild symptoms and to listen to my body.
About the Author:
Dominique Gruber is an NFPT trainer who grew up on the West Coast of Canada and now resides in the mountains of Montana where she enjoys trail running, skiing, riding horses, and exploring. As a mom of three young kids, a wife, and a small business owner, she is passionate about postpartum recovery and the convenience of home fitness! Dominique taught Zumba for eight years, through three pregnancies, and loved the connections forged with class attendees. Her philosophy is to incorporate simple functional exercises into a daily routine. Follow her on IG and find out more about taking her virtual training options.