Long Covid and Breathing in Swimming
Long COVID is used to describe signs and symptoms that last for longer than 4 weeks after getting COVID-19 with many people now having symptoms for far longer.
Like other respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 can cause lasting lung damage. As we continue to learn about COVID-19, we’re understanding more regarding how it affects the lungs during acute illness and afterwards.
There are two stages to what is commonly known as Long COVID:
Roughly 30 to 40 percent of people who contract the virus are asymptomatic and display no symptoms. The rest experience typical COVID-19 symptoms: fever, body aches, coughing, difficulty breathing, nausea and loss of taste or smell.
While these symptoms are usually expected to last the duration of the infection, some people are experiencing these symptoms weeks and even months after contracting COVID-19 and clearing it from their system. These people, sometimes called “long-haulers,” are typically in the older age range, but it can be young, healthy individuals as well.
One of the main symptoms of long Covid is breathlessness. This can happen even if you did not need treatment in hospital. As with asthmatics, swimming can help build your control of your breathing if you are suffering from breathlessness. Many studies have shown that swimming can actually make your lungs bigger and more efficient in how they process the air you breathe.
Following a bout of covid-19, some of our Strictly Swimming London clients have returned to swimming and realised that they were having trouble breathing to normal capacity during workouts and were struggling to swim the distances that they could normally manage (as they were still experiencing the effects of the virus months after infection).
Like asthma, the symptom of long Covid is chronic inflammation affecting the lungs and airways. Swimming is a preferred activity for many children and adults with asthma and is associated with a range of health benefits including improved physical fitness and mental well-being. It is now becoming apparent that long Covid sufferers can equally benefit from swimming as their main form of exercise.
Moreover, swimming focuses on controlled, rhythmical breathing which can support lung function and help mindfulness and can relieve anxiety during this pandemic.
If you are suffering from long covid and breathlessness, please call Strictly Swimming London and we can tailor your lessons to slowly build your lung capacity in the swimming pool.
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Paul started competing in swimming from the age of 8 and eventually went on to represent his country all over the world. During his time at University, Paul specialised in Aquatics and the Biomechanics of Swimming and produced numerous theses on swimming performance.