Getting Back Into Shape After Getting Covid

Getting Back Into Shape After Getting Covid

During this past summer, both Jules and I got Covid-19.
We felt sick for two days, and during those two days we mostly stayed in bed.
We had some fever, although it was not very high.
I had pain in my lungs, although it was not severe and did not impact my breathing in any way.
During those two days, it was painful for me to sleep horizontally,
so I had to sleep sitting up in bed.
Jules did not have any pain in his lungs.

We did not eat anything for two days, just drank green tea and water.
We self-isolated for ten days, and then started going on long walks to regain our strength.
We did not take any medication of any kind.
In fact, I only knew that we had gotten Covid when we lost our sense of smell.
It was a strange feeling to put a bottle of perfume up to my nose and to smell nothing at all.

After two weeks we got our sense of smell back.
We kept walking every day, sometimes as much as twenty kilometers or more, and felt no fatigue.
But still, I could feel my glands were a bit swollen and I had a weird taste in my mouth.

Even though we developed antibodies by healing from Covid, we decided to get vaccinated.
We got vaccinated also because it has become a requirement in many places in the USA and around the world.
For example, we had to show our vaccination cards in order to participate in the annual Breckenridge film festival.

On our recent trip to Seattle, Washington, we needed to show our vaccination cards in order to eat in restaurants and to enter the Starbucks Reserve coffee shops.

It took us months to get back into shape.
Both of us gained some weight after Covid.
We felt weak and felt the desire to eat much more than normal, perhaps trying to get over the fatigue that we felt.

Normally, we do periodic juice fasts in order to detox or to lose any weight that we had gained, but this time juicing for more than three days felt difficult.

The months went by and we got back to our normal energy levels, but we still carried an extra 15 pounds.
It was time to get serious about diet and fitness.

On our trip to Seattle, we enjoyed the great restaurants that the city has to offer, but we tried to walk the length and width of the city in the cold weather, in order to balance out our feasting.

Because it was already winter and walking outdoors is almost impossible in our area, we thought to buy Lululemon’s fitness mirror.
The Mirror is a full body length slick mirror that hangs on your wall, and you exercise in front of it while it broadcasts live yoga classes, Barr, gym classes and much more.
It sounded like a great idea, especially since the Lululemon shop was offering the Mirror at a promotional rate of less than $1000, plus a $39 monthly subscription.

So we bought the Mirror, and they promised delivery in four days.
When two weeks had passed and we still could not schedule the delivery, we decided to cancel our order.
The truth is that the Mirror is a great idea for those who live in a big city, where exercising outdoors is not so pleasant.
City streets are busy with cars, buses and people, and the air is often polluted.

I’d rather not exercise at home, but go outdoors, where our mountains, valleys, forests and rivers offer beautiful trails which challenge the body while at the same time enrich the soul.

One of my favorite all time activities is swimming.
I also absolutely LOVE soaking in hot spring pools.
As a young child, I spent most of my afternoons after school swimming in the pool.

I could not wait to get home from school, put on my bathing suit and run to our neighborhood pool.

My only food for many hours was a cup of hot cocoa or hot soup broth, which I would buy from a vending machine that stood by the pool’s bathrooms.

I also love soaking in hot springs, which is one of the reasons I love going to Japan.
I love the way the thermal waters relax, soothe and heal me.

Seventeen years ago, when we moved from Miami to Colorado, we were delighted to discover that we lived only thirty minutes away from the BIGGEST hot springs swimming pool in the whole world.

This winter, I decided to combine two of my most loved activities, swimming and hot springs, into one activity.
The Glenwood Springs pool is divided into two sections.
One section is a very hot soaking pool, in which swimming is not allowed.
The bigger hot springs pool is still very hot and nicely sulfury, but it has a section of lanes for swimmers to do laps.
Swimming laps is like a walking meditation.

When I started swimming again, I was surprised to see how slow I had gotten since I had not been swimming much in the past few years.
Normally, I can swim about 100 laps of 25 meters in about an hour.
I usually swim a breast stroke every few laps, to give my arms a rest.
I stop at about an hour, after swimming 2500 meters or 2.5 kilometers.

But now, in the hot springs pool, I was barely able to do sixty to seventy pools in an hour.
At first, I just thought that I needed more practice and to up my effort.
But soon I became suspicious, and asked one of the swimmers in my lane, what the length of the laps was that we were swimming.
She told me that a lap is 30.5 meters, which means that if I swim 100 laps, I would be covering 3050 meters or 3.5 kilometers, much
more than I used to swim.

Yes, it takes me longer, but now my practice is two hours, and I do not feel the need to swim many breast stroke laps in order to rest.

Jules comes with me to the pool.
He first goes to the member’s gym and exercises for an hour, and then he changes his clothes and joins me in the pool.
He swims with me for an additional half and hour and then we soak together in the very hot pool for a little while.
After our swim and soak, we go for a good lunch.

Initially, we skipped breakfast, and ate lunch after our swim, in order to lose more weight.
But I was feeling tired after an hour and a half of swimming, and was dragging myself for the last half an hour.
Then I decided to eat a banana for breakfast, or two energy balls that I make from blending nuts and dried fruit.
This works much better for me, and helps me swim until our late lunch.
To hydrate myself, I keep by the edge of my lane in the pool, a big bottle of water, which I sip when I feel thirsty.
Swimming for a long time in sulfuric waters makes one much more thirsty.

I also got a waterproof MP3 player and waterproof headphones, in order to listen to music during my two hours of swimming.

The best advice that I have gotten was from watching the YouTube videos of Ori Sela, who developed the “West” swimming technique.
Ori explains how to swim without putting pressure on your neck, back and arms.
By using Ori’s advice, I am now able to swim for two hours with minimal impact on my body.

We also rotate our exercise routine, in order to allow certain muscles to rest and heal.
Our rotation includes swimming, then cross country skiing, then swimming, then downhill skiing, then swimming, then cross country skiing, etc.

In the summer, we plan to rotate between cycling, swimming and hiking or walking.

Our diet now is much more restricted, because I am working on losing the extra fifteen pounds that I gained.
I am counting our calories and aiming for 1000-1200 calories per day.
I know it sounds like very little, but when your diet includes big salads and fruit, without oils, fried foods, or processed foods, it is actually quite satisfying.
A big salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, spring onions, capers, lemon and avocado, is only 250 calories.
A big lentil stew with carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, celery root, Kombu seaweed, spices and some miso paste, comes out to 500 calories.
This leaves me 250 calories for a potassium filled banana, an apple and a clementine.

This is not a diet suitable for athletes who burn many calories, but I am just getting back into shape and willing to sacrifice as necessary to be fit again.

(I am adding to this post photos from our trip to Seattle.)

Wishing you a happy and wonderful day or night,
Tali

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