Dr. Fritz Wimbauer is a senior physician at the Polyclinic for Preventive and Rehabilitative Sports Medicine at TUM’s university hospitalm rechts der Isar and head of the outpatient clinic at Georg-Brauchle-Ring. In an interview before his talk at the Covid-19 Lectures on April 28, the sports cardiologist emphasizes the importance of sports in the pandemic.
How important is it to exercise in the pandemic?
Very important. Exercise seems to stimulate the immune system and make infections less likely to break out. People with normal weight, normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar regulation and regular exercise have significantly less severe courses, studies show. Outdoor sports are also possible during a pandemic: jogging, Nordic walking, cycling, going for a walk and much more. Endurance sports are particularly important for improving physical fitness - even and especially in the run-up to the Corona vaccination.
How do you manage to overcome your lethargy and your "inner" pig dog during the lockdown period - and why is it worth it?
Regularity is the key. Every day a small fitness program, for example with a "7-minute workout". This is a mix of cardio, coordination and strength training, without any equipment. It can be done anywhere. Implemented twice a day, it brings the appropriate full-body fitness.
If you had Covid-19 and had a mild, even asymptomatic course of the disease, should you still have a sports medicine cardiological examination before you start exercising again?
A break from sports alone does not provide any certainty. A so-called sports fitness examination helps to avoid risks from training too early. Covid-19 can also lead to inflammation of the blood vessels. Among other things, an examination makes it possible to determine whether signs of inflammation are still present. However, the individual resilience of the heart and lungs is crucial for sports clearance. If the lungs have problems after a Covid 19 infection and you can’t get enough air, you’ll notice it. Problems with the heart, for example myocarditis, do not always have to be accompanied by clear symptoms. For ambitious recreational and competitive athletes who return to training immediately after quarantine and without a medical check-up, this is a great danger! In our outpatient clinics, we discover heart muscle inflammations or potentially dangerous cardiac arrhythmias again and again - even in young, seemingly healthy athletes. These are not isolated cases.
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