Coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down. India is currently facing the second wave of deadly virus and resources are running short. Many people have been gasping for breath with low oxygen levels. The deadly virus attacks the lungs and respiratory system, sometimes resulting in significant damage. Even after recovering from COVID-19, some people suffer from pneumonia and even acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a severe lung injury. However, one can improve lung function by therapy and exercise after recovering from Covid-19. These breathing exercises can get oxygen deep into the lungs and helps clear out mucus and other fluids, reinstate saturation levels and combat the infection.
Here are the exercises that a covid-19 survivor can practice at home:
Proning is a medically approved position to improve breathing comfort and oxygen supply. It is extremely beneficial for COVID-19 patients and is also being promoted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Those who have recovered from Covid-19 can practice this exercise at their home.
To do proning, first, lie on your belly using pillows. One can also lie on their right side or left side or sit at a 60-90 degree angle in the ‘fowler position’. Remain in the position for a minimum of 30 minutes to a maximum of 2 hours. This helps improve ventilation to the lungs and hence oxygen levels start improving.
This exercise will help to enhance the function of the diaphragm and get adequate air to the base of the lungs and supporting easy breathing.
To perform this, sit or lie down straight with the body relaxed and place hands on your belly. Breathe through the nose and ensure your stomach is moving outwards, while the chest stays still. Exhale slowly for 2 seconds with your stomach moving inwards. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Pursed Lip Breathing
It is one of the best techniques to increase oxygen intake. To perform this, sit with your back straight or lie down and keep your shoulders relaxed. Inhale through your nose for two seconds and try to fill your abdomen with air. Purse your lips and then breathe out slowly. Ensure to take twice as long to exhale as you took to inhale. Repeat it again.
Rib stretch expands ribs with each move during the breath and helps increase the air intake in the lungs.
To do it, stand in the upright position and keep your hands on your hips. Inhale air slowly until you feel your lungs filled. Hold on to the breath for 20 seconds and then exhale slowly. Repeat this five to ten times.
Pranayam (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Pranayama is a complete breathing exercise that is quite helpful for Covid-19 survivors to recover their lung function. You can perform the pranayam by following easy steps.
For this exercise, close the right nostril with the thumb and breath in through the left nostril to a count of 4. Now, close both the nostril and retain the breath to a count of 16. Release the right nostril and exhale to a count of 8. Now, repeat the process vice versa.