Athletes with a fever, sore throat, or dry cough should temporarily stop exercising. With a viral infection like the new coronavirus, there is a possibility that the virus can attach itself to the heart during exercise, which can have fatal consequences. But even healthy athletes shouldn’t push their efforts too far.
Cardiologists warn of this. Gert Mayvrot, president of the Belgian Association of Intensive Therapists, warns on Twitter that any viral infection can be accompanied by myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Anyone showing symptoms of an infection like the novel coronavirus should temporarily stop exercising, here’s his advice.
Guido Claesen, a cardiologist at the University of Leuven who specializes in sports, joins his colleague. The immune response can follow a viral infection: “ Overreact. It clears the virus, but it can also infect an organ, such as the heart. If you keep exercising, the situation will only get worse.
Claesen points out that this applies to viruses in general. So there is no separate scientific research on the exact situation of Covid-19 patients.
Even those who are complacent, it is best to keep a low profile. “Exercise is good for building muscle mass, which ensures you have more resistance. But you can put pressure on your immune system by putting in a lot of effort.”
According to Claesen, this applies to both beginner athletes and senior athletes. Those who are not used to exercising should not think that now is the time to start. If you have never run, it is better not to walk ten kilometers. But top athletes should also not turn red: no training or intermittent training on an empty stomach.
Health Sports, the successor to the Flemish Society of Sports Medicine, recommends taking things easy even after recovery. “Rest for as many days as you have a fever. For example, after 3 days of fever, don’t start exercising again until day 7.