What to do after Covid and flu: expert advice on sport and supplements

What to do after Covid and flu: expert advice on sport and supplements


Profound tiredness, cough that shows no sign of going away, runny nose. Symptoms ‘inherited’ from Covid and flu, which continue to create discomfort even many days after the infection has run its course. Disorders that millions of Italians have to deal with in this period.

“We often don’t ‘foresee’ that these diseases may require a recovery phase. But these are debilitating pathologies, so our body must be supported by following appropriate behaviors such as calmly resuming the most physically stressful activities, such as sport. While, in most cases, supplements are not necessary.” Proposing a decalogue for ‘post-virus recovery’ is Giorgio Sestiprofessor of Internal Medicine at the Sapienza University of Rome.

The 10 tips from the expert

  1. no drugs
  2. balanced and complete diet, limiting alcohol as much as possible and following good hydration
  3. no to supplements
  4. gradual resumption of sport
  5. avoid strenuous actions, preferring to divide the most demanding efforts into several phases
  6. no to activities in the cold
  7. no to isolation
  8. carve out space for yourself
  9. return to work as soon as possible
  10. avoid bacterial infections

“Medicines are not useful in this phase – explains Sesti, arguing the first advice of the handbook – Drugs such as anti-inflammatories and antivirals, in fact, must only be prescribed in the acute phase”. The second step “is to follow a rich, balanced, complete diet, capable of guaranteeing an intake of both classic nutrients, i.e. fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins, minerals and fibre”. Supplements, on the other hand, “are of little use to those who eat a rich and adequate diet. These products are good for people who have less appetite, who have difficulty swallowing, for the elderly, for the frail, for institutionalized patients. For others the supplement is useless, because it does not integrate anything into a varied and balanced diet. We do not have ‘miracle’ products supported by rigorous scientific studies on effectiveness in healthy people with a normal diet.”

Be careful with the cold and too intense sporting activity

Another suggestion from the internal medicine doctor is “spread the efforts: instead of making a heavy effort, make more, but to a lesser extent. Do I need to move a piece of furniture? I will do it in stages in such a way as to divide the difficulty”. To avoid “activities that could expose you to the cold. For example, if friends go to the mountains, it is not the most appropriate time to go with them”.

“Even to return to sporting activity – continues Sesti – it is necessary to resume training in a truly gradual way, first getting the muscles moving again so as not to further stress the body”. But too much rest is also not recommended: “Inactivity and isolation must be avoided because they can trigger a depressive syndrome which does not help. It is a psychological aspect that is often ignored, which should perhaps be evaluated more”. Yes, therefore, also “to return to work or engage in normal daily activities as soon as possible”.

Don’t neglect psychological well-being

“You also need to carve out more space for yourself and your hobbies, always considering the psychological element which is important in recovery”, reiterates the specialist. Instead, we must “avoid exposing ourselves to low temperatures and having contact with sick people, because these are all risk factors for bacterial infections that could lead to respiratory damage due to the previous pathology”.



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